Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Love The Smell Of Schadenfreude In The Morning

You know that bill that was supposed to defund ACORN? The one that was passed with veto-proof Congressional majorities? The one that was called the "Defund ACORN Act"? Seems that the bill, in order to avoid bill-of-attainder status, was written so that it not only defunds ACORN but almost all major defense contractors! Good job, guys!

Here's the text of the bill. Note that it forbids federal funding to any organization who filed an incorrect form with the government. And that if it employs anyone who has ever defrauded the government, it can't get funding. That's quite a standard to meet.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is helpfully trying to compile a list of companies who should get defunded by the bill here. The list includes a few false positives (Grayson himself calls it an "unverified list") but the documentation is pretty good for the most part. He needs to get his list into the record by Friday - help him out here. Greenwald has an interview with Grayson up here.

Oh look, here's an even more helpful list of all federal contractors, defense and otherwise, how many times they've defrauded the government, and how much money they've effectively stolen from the taxpayer. I'm sure they're being a bit pessimistic (I think they include alleged fraud as well as proven fraud, but hey, so does the "Defund ACORN Act"), but it's a stunning list. Considering the size of our deficit, we could really use that $26 billion right now, I think. Oh, and of the top 20 contractors, only one - MacAndrews AMG (who makes humvees for the military) - would be able to continue receiving federal funds.

Not just that. Note the bill prohibits federal funding "in any form." So ExxonMobil (39 instances of fraud or alleged fraud) can kiss its precious subsidies goodbye. Royal Dutch Shell (20 instances) can too. General Motors (12 instances) isn't getting any more bailout cash. Corrections Corporation of America (5 instances, including tax fraud) wouldn't be able to be paid for operating jails anymore. I could go on.

While it would be hilarious, I don't foresee a sudden defunding of our entire military-industrial complex, not to mention cessation of a few subsidies here and there. Rather, it'll hopefully force Congress to re-evaluate how government contracts are awarded and overseen. These instances of fraud happen because the government lets these big companies get away with it - fraud can be stopped by ensuring competitive bidding, strengthening cost oversight, and requiring proof of completion for a contract to be paid.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Hmmmmm, weren't we just talking about the dangers of hastily-passed laws? Unintended consequences abound.

Also, your word verification is "debless." Sounds like "I'll bless you...oh, never mind, now I'll de-bless you." Kind of like what this bill would do to contractors "blessed" with federal contracts.