WASHINGTON – During a hearing with top Pentagon officials, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill demanded answers over the report she released earlier today detailing the Pentagon’s systemic mismanagement of the ‘Legacy’ program, a project intended to provide counterinsurgency intelligence experts to mentor and train Afghan National Security Forces. New Century Consulting, a subcontractor for the program, billed the government for over $51 million in questionable costs—including Porsches, Bentleys, and other luxury vehicles—and as McCaskill revealed today, the company is still working for the government.
“These people shouldn’t be anywhere near one dime of taxpayer money—why in the world are we still doing business with these crooks,” McCaskill asked of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other top Pentagon officials. “There’s hundreds of millions of dollars flying around and frankly nobody’s paying close enough attention. Somebody’s head’s got to roll on this.”
Click HERE to watch McCaskill’s questioning at today’s hearing.
At the hearing with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) David L. Norquist, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr, McCaskill called for the government to immediately debar the company in question, which would ensure that it is not eligible for any future government contracts. “What is wrong with the debarment process?” McCaskill questioned. “This is the whipped cream and cherry on top of this incredible scandal—the company is still a government contractor. They are getting taxpayer money as we speak.”
McCaskill also demanded accountability for the Pentagon officials involved in approving the contracts. “I’m not going to shut up about this until someone’s held accountable,” McCaskill said. “If somebody isn’t held accountable for letting this happen, it’s going to keep happening.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pledged to read the report and get answers to McCaskill. “Senator, [we’re] 100 percent with you on this,” he said.
The report McCaskill released today reveals additional information on how the contracts were awarded to New Century Consulting, the lack of sufficient Pentagon oversight, and details on the company’s current subcontract. The report also includes details from the Army stating that had McCaskill’s 2013 contracting reform legislation been in place at the time the Legacy contracts were awarded, there would have been additional requirements before the company in question could have served as a subcontractor on the project.
READ MCCASKILL’S REPORT: Fast Cars, Easy Money: How the Pentagon Mismanaged the Afghanistan Legacy Program
The report is the result of continued oversight from McCaskill over the ‘Legacy’ program. Last year, McCaskill questioned the Pentagon after the Defense Contract Audit Agency reviewed the “Legacy East” contract, finding that New Century Consulting billed over $50 million in questionable costs to the Army, including seven luxury vehicles, $1,500 on alcohol, and $42,000 in cash on automatic weapons despite regulations or contract provisions prohibiting such expenditures. The Defense Contract Audit Agency conducted its review after McCaskill had first demanded answers over an earlier audit of the contract by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that revealed millions of dollars in questionable costs. The primary contractor Imperatis, now insolvent, has previously drawn fire from McCaskill on multiple occasions, including in 2012 when video surfaced of Imperatis personnel intoxicated in what former employees called a pattern of inappropriate behavior.
McCaskill is a leading voice in the Senate for saving taxpayer dollars through contracting reform and oversight. McCaskill waged a successful six-year effort to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contracting. McCaskill has also successfully expanded protections for whistleblowers to government contractors, subcontractors, and others who the federal government directly or indirectly hires through bipartisan bills that have been signed into law.