White House wrote multibillion-dollar loophole for corrupt business practices
Chicago Tribune
February 23, 2008

The White House has written a multibillion-dollar loophole into a proposed crackdown on contract fraud, drawing the attention of the government's top watchdog of U.S. spending in Iraq.

The loophole would allow companies performing government work overseas to avoid having to report contract abuse. A review of documents shows it was added by Bush administration policy writers after they received a draft of the proposed rule from the Justice Department.

"It's important for the loophole to be closed in order to ensure good government oversight," said Kristine Belisle of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Studies indicate at least $102 billion has been spent since 2003 on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Justice Department has opened 44 fraud inquiries.

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