Senators move to demand DOD audit penalties

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would impose penalties on the Defense Department if the agency fails meet a legally mandated goal of being fully auditable by September 2017.
 

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The bill – sponsored by Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (Texas) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE (Ky.) and Democrats Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMcConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in MORE (W.Va.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWeek ahead: Senate takes up surveillance bill This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump MORE (Oregon) – calls for increased oversight every year the department fails to meet the target and would eventually strip the Pentagon’s ability to reprogram and transfer funds between its accounts.
 
“One of best ways to find the most accurate information about our military’s spending and priorities is to shed light on the Department of Defense budget without jeopardizing our national security secrets,” Manchin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
 
“It is simply unacceptable that the Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that has not completed a financial audit. Our bill will help to solve that problem,” he added.
 
Since 1997, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been required to audit the federal government’s consolidated financial statements, but the watchdog agency has repeatedly said its reviews of the Pentagon are not based on accurate data.
 
In 2010, it was determined that nearly $6 billion spent to improve the agency's financial information was unsuccessful and GAO could not predict when the DOD would be able to provide these financial statements.
 
DOD “must be held to at least the same standard as any other federal agency --Americans need to know where their hard-earned money went, and what they got for it. This bill means more transparency and more accountability for taxpayer dollars,” Wyden said.
 
Conversely, the bill would reward the Pentagon if it met the fiscal goal, including greater ability to move funds.
 
Last week, Manchin asked the chiefs of four armed service branches how DOD was coming along in meeting the 2017 goal.
 
“We're not where we need to be yet, but we're making progress and we should be prepared by '17 to meet that goal,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said.
 
Chief Naval Officer Adm. Jonathan Greenert said his service was “on track” to meet the 2017 finish line.