Newly reelected U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today became Chairman of a powerful new Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight-a position from which the former prosecutor and auditor plans to expand her years-long fight against government waste, fraud, and abuse, turning from a focus on contracting to the operations of every federal agency and department.
"I'm putting every federal agency on notice-any employee or contractor who wastes taxpayer money, or acts inappropriately on the taxpayer dime, will have this committee to answer to," said McCaskill, former prosecutor and State Auditor. "I plan to carry the same determination from our wartime contracting fight to this expanded effort to root out waste and fraud, protect taxpayer dollars, and bring a new level of accountability and transparency to government."
Since 2009, McCaskill has led the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, a temporary "ad hoc" subcommittee, from which she successfully passed into law the most expansive reforms to wartime contracting practices since World War II. The responsibilities of that contracting oversight panel will be folded into the new, permanent Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight, a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
McCaskill's new subcommittee will dramatically expand her jurisdiction, allowing her an oversight role over spending at every federal agency and department, and will provide more staff and investigative resources. McCaskill plans to announce hearings for the panel in the coming weeks.
During her time at the helm of the former Subcommittee on Contracting, McCaskill chaired more than 20 hearings, and launched more than 40 investigations at 22 federal departments and agencies-resulting in nearly 30 instances of misconduct referred to federal investigators. Highlights of McCaskill's contracting oversight panel included:
*Wartime Contracting: Shepherding the work of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting-a panel created through legislation by McCaskill and former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia-which identified at least $60 billion in waste of taxpayer dollars, and subsequently turning the Commission's recommendations into successful legislation, overhauling the way the federal government contracts during wartime
*Veterans: Chairing a Senate hearing to examine progress made by government contractors in the hiring of military veterans, and hearing input directly from a Missouri-based veterans service organization on boosting jobs for veterans
*Federal Waste: Leading an investigation into the General Services Administration (GSA), helping topple its leaders for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars-including on a Las Vegas conference that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars-and introducing legislation to prevent such waste in the future
*Arlington National Cemetery: Exposing severe mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery, replacing the cemetery's leadership, and passing legislation that successfully addressed the management failures
*Inspectors General: Fighting to strengthen the role of Inspectors General to combat waste and misconduct within federal agencies, and leading in investigation that led to the resignation of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction