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Defazio Amendment Seeks Pentagon Audit

The House of Representatives has passed a defense spending bill that includes an amendment by Oregon Rep. Peter Defazio. The amendment requires the Pentagon to produce financial statements that can be audited. For the past twenty years, the Defense Department has not undergone any external auditing process. Defazio says his staff recently learned the exemption is a permanent part of the law.

“By 2017, they have a goal of being auditable. The Pentagon brass has such chutzpah that they came to a hearing last fall and said, ‘If you want us to be auditable by 2017, we’re going to need more money, to construct the system so we can be auditable,’” Defazio said.

He says he’ll be looking for a colleague to sponsor a Senate version of the amendment. He also says he’s optimistic that the Defense Department’s new Secretary, Leon Panetta, will support greater transparency in spending.

The appropriation bill also includes an amendment penned by Southwest Washington’s Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler. It prohibits American contractors from paying any taxes levied by the Afhgan government when spending on assistance and rebuilding projects in Afghanistan. It’s the first amendment she’s sponsored as a member of Congress.