Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the "Audit the Pentagon Act of 2012" for increased fiscal transparency and accountability in the defense budget.
This bill will reduce the authority of any Federal agency by five percent if it does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. Both military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts and the President would be granted a national security waiver.
"The American people want some basic measure of accountability in the way the Pentagon spends their tax dollars.," said Congresswoman Lee. "The Department of Defense's refusal to provide an audit is recipe for waste, fraud and abuse. Nearly sixty cents of every federal discretionary dollar now goes toward defense spending, and by the Pentagon's own admission, they cannot properly account for how the money is spent. It is time to finally do away with a culture of unlimited spending and no accountability at the Pentagon. As our economy is continuing to rebound from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, this lack of fiscal transparency in our excessive and bloated defense budget is unacceptable."
Treasury Department reported that for the fiscal year 2011, 32 of 35 major federal agencies received clean audits. Two more, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, were partially auditable and making progress, leaving the Department of Defense as the only agency without an audit. If the bill had been law this year, the Department of Defense (DOD) would have faced around $30 billion in cuts.
The Government Accountability Office found that the DOD is not consistently able to "control costs; ensure basic accountability; anticipate future costs; measure performance, maintain funds control; and prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse," underscoring the importance of this proposed legislation.