Leaders Call For Truman-style Commission To Investigate Contract Abuse In Iraq

WASHINGTON – Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., joined filmmaker Robert Greenwald today calling for a Truman-style commission to investigate the gross misuse of government funds spent by contractors in Iraq. Sen. Dorgan and Greenwald participated in a news conference on Capitol Hill this morning, where they also released a new report by the Campaign for America’s Future that provides an overview of the profiteering and mismanagement in Iraq.

The report traces a litany of abuses back to the disdain for the mission of nation-building and the cronyism that is the hallmark of the conservatives that dominate our government. The report details votes made in Congress where measures designed to put in place accountability or oversight were rejected by the Republican majority. The report will also be featured at thousands of house parties across the country next month, where participants will view Greenwald’s new film “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” and demand that Congress act to establish accountability.

“The federal government has outsourced core government responsibilities in Iraq at the expense of the lives  of soldiers and civilians,” said Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage. “The conservative ideology of shrinking fundamental government responsibilities and outsourcing them to corporate cronies has reached unprecedented proportions in Iraq.  Corporations are cashing in on the crisis, often with tragic consequences.  Worse, both the administration and the Congress have simply failed to enforce basic accountability.”

The report documents six notorious companies that spent a combined $3,228,665 on campaign contributions and $7,490,000 on lobbying since the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001. Halliburton and Titan Corp. gave 89 percent of their campaign contributions to Republicans and only 11 percent to Democrats.

Halliburton has come under special scrutiny because Vice President Cheney was their CEO and still owns stock options in the company. Halliburton dispatched drivers with empty trucks because it was paid by the trip. Titan Corp. and CACI provided translators and interrogators implicated in abuses at Abu Ghraib. Blackwater sent men in understaffed, unarmored vehicles in violation of a contract to a massacre in Fallujah. Becthel failed to complete the construction of a children’s hospital in Basra it was paid $50 million to build.

Later in the day, the Democratic Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Dorgan, convened a hearing featuring Halliburton whistleblowers describing how Halliburton’s own employees took items intended to go to the troops. Witnesses provided new details of the “Good Friday Massacre” in which Halliburton supervisors sent unarmed American civilians to drive through a combat zone, resulting in the death of six truck drivers and two soldiers.

At 7:15 p.m. tonight the Campaign for America’s Future will host the capital premiere of Greenwald’s new film “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” at the Woolly Mammoth Theater. The movie explores the stories of civilians and soldiers in Iraq who have been endangered and killed due to grave mismanagement by contractors.

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**NOTE: An electronic copy of the report is available at www.ourfuture.org. Media representatives interested in attending the Washington premiere of the movie should reserve tickets by contacting Anne Thompson at athompson@ourfuture.org.**