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Welch, Jones, Walberg Angered by SIGAR Findings of Tax Dollars Wasted in Afghanistan

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

This month, Congressmen Walter B. Jones (NC-3), Peter Welch (VT-At-Large), and Tim Walberg (MI-7) responded to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko's review on the dollar amount of improperly used funds uncovered in Afghanistan. Last September, the three congressmen wrote to SIGAR requesting the review. In his July 17, 2018 response to the congressmen, IG Sopko reported that "SIGAR has identified up to $15.5 billion in waste, fraud, and abuse, and failed whole-of-government reconstruction efforts (or 29 percent of the $52.7 billion we examined)."

In light of these findings, Jones, Welch, and Walberg have sent a letter to eight other inspectors general asking for a similar review. They wrote: "…we are asking all relevant U.S. government oversight agencies to help us better understand the full extent of waste, fraud, and abuse that has occurred within U.S. efforts in that country."

"It is time. Enough blood and money has been shed in Afghanistan," said Congressman Jones. "Tragically, $15.5 billion is only the verified amount of wasted money -- the number is much greater. That is why we are requesting other agencies for an in-depth review of tax dollar usage within their jurisdiction. The American people deserve a better understanding of where their money is going -- to the black hole, known as Afghanistan."

"We are now seventeen years into the endless war in Afghanistan. This report barely scratches the surface of its enormous human and financial toll. I applaud IG Sopko for his persistent efforts to put a spotlight on rampant waste and fraud in Afghanistan spending. Congress must do its job and take action to end it," said Congressman Welch.

"As the SIGAR report shows, reconstruction programs in Afghanistan have been mismanaged and poorly run for years. This level of wasteful spending is simply staggering and unacceptable," said Congressman Walberg. "We need greater oversight of these funds to prevent waste and shine a light on how American tax dollars are being misspent in Afghanistan."

The original waste investigation request to SIGAR, SIGAR's July 2018 response, and the follow-up letters to eight agencies are attached.


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