Is the Defense Budget Rife with Waste and Crony Capitalism?
In a new Daily Beast article, Breitbart contributing editor Peter Schweizer argues that the Pentagon's budget suffers from instances of serious waste and crony capitalism.
Schweizer points to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit last year that found that mismanagement at the Department of Defense had resulted in $70 billion of waste in just two years. And a 2010 GAO report revealed that the Defense Logistics Agency was purchasing 50% more military equipment than was needed, resulting in $7 billion of supplies gathering dust in a warehouse.
Schweizer also cites examples of crony capitalism creeping into military matters. For example, Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee, has a daughter who is a lobbyist for defense contractors. As the Washington Post notes, Rep. Young has previously steered money to contractors that hired his sons.
There is also the question of whether members of Congress should own stocks in sectors affected by the committees they serve on. For example, in 2010, 19 out of 28 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee had investments in defense-related industries that broker big deals with the Department of Defense. "I am frankly surprised they are allowed to have these investments," said Gordon England, a former Bush senior Pentagon official. "Every member of this committee has tremendous influence over every major contract at the Pentagon."
As Schweizer concludes: "Nothing in Washington is untouched by cronyism."