WASHINGTON — After a recent report identified at least $536 million in questionable contracting costs in Afghanistan, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today called for answers from the Pentagon. The report, issued in May by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Defense, also found that the Army paid $2.4 billion in total costs from 2015 to 2017 with little or no examination of supporting documentation under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP).
“I feel confident that Missouri taxpayers aren’t interested in being on the hook for a $715 car wash, so we’ve got to get to the bottom of what happened with this contract,” said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor. “If we can’t responsibly execute these contracts, this money should never have gone out the door in the first place.”
The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) conducts audits of voucher costs for the Army under the LOGCAP program, which allows contractors to provide logistical and sustainment services for deployed U.S. forces. The Inspector General found that DCAA failed to adequately monitor or examine LOGCAP contracts for unallowable costs, including $74,022 for one employee’s Afghanistan visa application, $7,128 for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in the United States, $2,713 for convenience store purchases in the United States, and $715 for a car wash.
In a letter to DCAA, McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote, “On Friday, May 11, 2018, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Defense issued a report finding at least $536 million in questioned and unsupported costs under the LOGCAP contract. The report renews my longstanding concerns regarding the oversight and accountability of the LOGCAP program.”
McCaskill has led efforts to eliminate wasteful U.S. government spending overseas, including previous LOGCAP contracts, since joining the Senate. In 2009, as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, McCaskill sent a letter to the Defense Department demanding answers after a report revealed that over $100 million was improperly paid to a contractor under the LOGCAP contract in Iraq. In 2011, she requested a briefing with Pentagon staff to conduct oversight as the Defense Department planned to award new task orders under the LOGCAP contract.
McCaskill called for answers last year on a Defense Department contract to provide counterinsurgency intelligence experts to mentor and train the Afghan National Security Forces after a review of the contract called into question $50 million in expenses—including seven luxury vehicles and exorbitant salaries for significant others of corporate officers to serve as “executive assistants.” Earlier this year, she continued her oversight of that Defense Department contract, releasing a report on how the contracts were awarded, the lack of sufficient Pentagon oversight, and details on the company’s current subcontract—despite the Pentagon having identified its waste and potential fraud.
Read McCaskill’s letter to DCAA HERE.