During the past 18 months, I have repeatedly voiced my concerns and frustrations regarding the performance of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the government watchdog responsible for investigating tax dollar misuse on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.
The independent Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency recently released three reviews of SIGAR and found numerous problems with the agency's work, including a failure to produce any meaningful strategic plan for their audits and investigations. The reviews say that leadership at SIGAR remains more concerned with the quantity of their work rather than the quality. Corrective action must be taken.
Last week, amid mounting evidence of SIGAR's incompetence and mismanagement, my colleagues Tom Coburn, Susan Collins, Charles Grassley and I sent a letter asking the president to immediately fire Arnold Fields as the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. A copy of our letter is available here.
The event that prompted us to take action was Fields’ questionable judgment: he recently entered into a non-competitive, $95,000 consulting contract with Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense Inspector General who resigned in the thick of serious allegations of misconduct, including obstructing criminal investigations, quashing audits and misleading Congress.
It’s obvious that taxpayers would be better served with new leadership at SIGAR. I am disappointed by the Administration’s ongoing failure to take decisive action and will continue to urge President Obama to take immediate steps to improve Afghanistan reconstruction oversight.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
McCaskill: We can't wait any longer for better Afghanistan oversight
In her latest newsletter, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, continues her call for the firing of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction: