Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What is there to "misunderstand" here?

From TPM:

"Back in February, the AP broke the story that the White House had secretly modified a proposed rule to crack down on contract fraud. The rule, originally drafted by the Justice Department, was intended to force contractors to police themselves and report evidence of fraud or abuse. But the White House's version of the rule specifically exempted contractors working overseas on contracts that exceeded $5 million.

The Justice Department, which needs all the help it can get in busting corrupt contractors, was dismayed. But it made the major overseas contractors (like, say, Blackwater, KBR, CACI International, etc.), who had been opposing the rule, very happy.

When the AP asked why the White House had inserted the loophole, no answers were forthcoming. A spokeswoman from the Office of Management and Budget would only say that it was a "proposed rule," and that they were reviewing public comments.

And that was it. Over the ensuing months, members of Congress from both parties denounced the rule and vowed investigations. Even the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction publicly criticized the rule. But the White House otherwise stayed mum.

The first Congressional hearing was set for today. And the White House has let it be known that the loophole is gone -- and that it was all a big misunderstanding"

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