July 01, 2021

Reps. Lee and Burgess Introduce Legislation to Audit the Pentagon

Washington, D.C.—Today, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2021”, which aims to increase transparency and accountability in the defense budget.

This bipartisan legislation would administer a 0.5% cut to the budget of any office at the Pentagon that does not receive an audit for the first year of the bill’s enactment, then rises to 1.0% in subsequent years.  The bill exempts funding for personnel, families, and military health care from these automatic cuts.

“The lack of accountability and transparency at the Pentagon is simply outrageous. In the thirty-one years since Congress passed the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, the Pentagon remains the only federal agency that has never passed an audit,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Congress pours trillions of taxpayer dollars into the Pentagon and yet, but we still have no clear idea how that money is being spent. This legislation would be a long overdue step in ensuring transparency and putting an end to the culture of waste, fraud and abuse at the Department of Defense. I thank Congressman Burgess for his partnership on this effort and look forward to finally holding the Pentagon accountable to the American taxpayer.”

“While Congress is going through the appropriations process, we have a responsibility to demand transparency. It is astonishing that the Department of Defense (DoD) has not accounted for its taxpayer-funded resources and is the only major agency that has never been able to complete an audit of its full financial statements,” said Rep. Burgess. “I am encouraged by the progress made by the DoD in the last few years, but it is not yet enough. This legislation will hold the DoD accountable by reducing funding for unauditable departments and accounts by a half percent. Incentivizing a full audit will bring the DoD into compliance with current law and correct a crucial missing piece that allows Congress to perform a chief governmental function: oversight.”

This bipartisan bill is supported by national organizations including Win Without War, Public Citizen, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and FreedomWorks and R Street.

To read the full bill text, click here.