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Billions of Tax Payer Money Wasted and Stolen in Iraq


Guest Justin Kitsch
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Guest Justin Kitsch

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) today introduced legislation, called the Rescission of Unneeded Iraq Reconstruction Funds Act, which would take back roughly $12 billion of unspent American taxpayer dollars designated for Iraq reconstruction. Dorgan says, “It makes no sense for our country, which is deep in debt, to send billions of dollars to a country that has a $50 billion budget surplus that is sitting in bank accounts.”

 

“Iraq is flush with cash from oil revenues while our country is deep in debt” said Dorgan. “To keep shoveling billions of dollars to Iraq when they have a huge unused budget surplus is a complete waste of American taxpayer dollars. They don’t need the money, but we do.”

 

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report estimated that Iraq will accumulate a budget surplus that could reach $50 billion for fiscal year 2008. At the same time over $12 billion of the $43.5 billion that Congress has appropriated for reconstruction in Iraq has not yet been spent. Dorgan says that $12 billion spending should be rescinded now.

 

The GAO report determined that little of the surplus was being used for reconstruction, and that Iraq has not used all of the funds designated for reconstruction over the years. The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Salih, recently said, “Iraq does not need financial assistance.”

 

“Americans are paying for Iraq reconstruction twice, once when they fill up their gas tanks and again by giving the Iraqi Government billions of dollars which they don’t need,” said Dorgan.

 

“My plan sounds simple because it is. Iraq has the money to pay for its own reconstruction, while our country is swimming in red ink. We need to take our money back and invest it our country.”

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Guest American for Progress

The Washington Post reports that yesterday, a former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that "more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes." Salam Adhoob, a former chief investigator for Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity, told the Senate that an Iraqi auditing bureau "could not properly account for" the money.

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