Paul slams Pentagon for $43M Afghan gas station

Paul slams Pentagon for $43M Afghan gas station
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) is taking aim at the Defense Department after a top watchdog found that it spent $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan.

The gas station is the latest target of Paul's "Waste Report," which he uses to highlight what he believes is unnecessary government spending.

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"It is important to draw attention to the peculiar lack of planning put into this project that caused such a significant sum of money to be wasted, as well as, the apparent stonewalling of the DOD special inspector general’s investigation into the project," according to Paul's report.

The contract to build the gas station was originally set at just under $3 million. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction also found that a similar natural gas station in Pakistan cost $500,000, which would equal $306,000 at the current exchange rate.

Paul added that his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on overseeing federal spending "dug deeper" into the SIGAR report and found that the Defense Department didn't conduct a "feasibility study" before starting the project and that "no one in Afghanistan can afford vehicles that run on the fuel."

The 2016 GOP presidential contender's Waste Report adds that "CNG [compressed natural gas] conversion costs as much as $800, in a country where the average annual income is about $690. This may explain why the U.S. government paid to convert at least 120 Afghan vehicles to CNG."

The project has gotten pushback from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has given the Pentagon 48 hours to hand over some documents on a hard drive.

Paul added in his report that it is "troubling ... that DoD seemed to have stonewalled" the investigation by SIGAR, including how the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations spent its overall $800 million budget.

"These are the ingredients of waste: An unaudited bureaucracy flush with (your) cash, a rebuilding effort, and an environmental angle in a war zone halfway around the world," he said.