Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Bill to Bring Greater Transparency and Accountability to Pentagon Spending

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Congressman Dan Benishek (R-MI) in introducing the bipartisan Audit the Pentagon Act of 2014.

The measure will impose a small penalty on Pentagon accounting units that remain unauditable, despite more than two decades since the passage of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990.  The bill exempts accounts related to personnel and those deemed critical to national security by the Secretary of Defense.

“Unauditable is unacceptable. It has been more than 20 years and the Pentagon is still reporting that audit-readiness is five years off. We need to bring immediate accountability to the Pentagon and prevent further waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It was not that long ago, we heard stories about bags of cash in Afghanistan. We need greater sunlight and transparency so Congress and the American people know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.”

“Finally, the Pentagon will have to pay a real penalty if it remains ‘unauditable’.  For decades the Defense Department has defied the audit requirement, despite receiving nearly $500 billion each year of taxpayer money, more than half the entire discretionary budget.  The DoD must be accountable," said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

“I thank Congresswoman Schakowsky and Congressmen Burgess and Benishek for joining me in this important effort,” added Congresswoman Lee.

At the press conference launching the bill, Congresswoman Lee and Congressman Burgess were joined by Grover Norquist, president and founder of American for Tax Reform.

Photographs and an audio file of the press conference are available by contacting James Lewis (james.c.lewis@mail.house.gov).

Congresswoman Lee has also introduced the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2013 which would impose a five percent penalty for non-audit-readiness.