Bush refuses independent oversight of private contractors

In another incident of Bush Administration refusal to accept accountability or balance of power:
Associated Press Writer

The Army’s march to overhaul its tarnished contracting system has been slowed by an unlikely foe: the White House.

The Office of Management and Budget, President Bush’ administrative arm, has shot down a service plan to add five active-duty generals who would oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance. The boost in brass was a key recommendation from a blue-ribbon panel that last fall criticized the Army for contracting failures that undermined the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, wasted U.S. tax dollars, and sparked dozens of procurement fraud investigations. more

Our tax dollars at work. Isn’t it great some folks got a $600 rebate check this year while the private contractors steal us blind and Bush supports them through actions such as cost-plus contracts? We pay nearly $5.00 per gallon for gas and George Bush gives no-bid cost-plus contracts to his friends and associates. Guess we’re neither.

Halliburton – KBR and their no-bid cost-plus contracts

The Rip Off report From The Sun Herald:

A Pentagon investigative report alleges the firm KBR Inc. held an illegal contract, overcharged millions to the Navy and produced shoddy workmanship on its South Mississippi jobs after Katrina.

A report released by the Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General says KBR worked on Navy facilities in Gulfport, Pascagoula, at Stennis Space Center and in Pensacola, among other Gulf Coast sites after hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. The group holds a $500 million disaster-recovery contract with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic based in Norfolk, Va., which was struck in 2004.

KBR received the deal from the federal government while it was a subsidiary of Haliburton, for which Vice President Dick Cheney is a former chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Cheney resigned from his Haliburton post to be President Bush’s running mate in 2000.

According to the Inspector General’s probe, the company was hired to set up trailer parks for displaced Navy personnel, make roof repairs on the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport and remove debris, among other jobs.

The Houston-based firm allegedly used a type of contract for some of the jobs known as “cost plus percentage of cost,” which the report says is a violation of federal law. Its premise is the higher the costs, the more profit the contractor turns, and the deal actually rewards wastefulness and inefficiency, inspectors concluded.

KBR Corporate Communications Director Heather Browne said Wednesday in a statement to the Sun Herald the company takes exception to the findings.

“KBR does not agree with many of the conclusions contained in the report,” Browne said. “We fully cooperated with the Inspector General in its review and provided our comments, including exceptions, to the Inspector General. We will continue to work with the Navy to resolve any items associated with the CONCAP contract that are unresolved.”

In one instance, the company failed to get competitive bids for subcontracts and it could have actually cost taxpayers $2 million more than it should have, the report said.

The company also allegedly charged representatives twice in some cases for work on the trailers, as shoddy workmanship had to be completely replaced. One laundry facility was unusable, and structures were wired with plugs that had only about half of the power-handling capacity they needed. The plugs had to be replaced.

The work at the trailer parks drew the suspicions of one technical evaluator. read more

Read the inspector general’s report

Project Censored – Keeping the Mainstream News Honest

Here is a great resource discovered on digg.com – Project Censored from Sonoma State University.

Check out their site, which has the endorsement of Walter Cronkite – “Project censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcast outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.”

Here is a listing of their top stories from last year:

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2007

Check out what’s cooking this year in their current top stories section.
I found this one of particular interest:  Bush Moves Toward Martial Law.  While this happens, what are our elected officials doing and how are they voting?  Do we have a response by our Representative Elton Gallegly?