Bill by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn increases pressure for Pentagon audit

U.S. Sen. Coburn, R-Muskogee, says his bill would end the “don't ask, don't tell” culture of budgeting at the Pentagon, which doesn't have the financial systems in place to undergo an audit.
by Chris Casteel Modified: August 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm •  Published: August 3, 2012

Coburn's bill aims to give the department some carrots and sticks to get its books ready to audit. The Pentagon would get more flexibility in how money can be used or transferred among accounts, and it would have to file fewer reports to Congress.

The legislation would transfer the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to the Treasury Department and create a chief management office empowered to fix the Pentagon's finances and information technology problems. It would prohibit any weapon system from progressing past the research and development phase until the Pentagon could audit its books.

“How can we protect taxpayer dollars from waste and abuse or set the priorities for protecting our freedoms, if the Defense Department can't even tell us how these vast sums of money are being spent?” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. “This legislation is bipartisan, it's common sense, and it'll take some big steps toward stronger accountability over federal spending.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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