Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Davis leaves a cold trail, complains trail is cold

Tom Davis headed the Government Reform Committee since 1998. Despite allegations of torture, failure to provide adequate troop protective gear, waste, fraud, and missing packages of money called "footballs" used to "hand off," Davis issued no subpeonas and took almost no testimony on the issues related to the Iraq War.

Now that new Chairman Henry Waxman is holding a hearing, Davis is criticizing him for starting hearings so late. Then he undermined the Democrats newly established tip line.

Former committee chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., now the senior minority member ... criticized Waxman.

He said Waxman was rushing to "old judgments" in a hearing that was "old news."
Davis accused Democrats of trying to embarrass the administration.

He said Waxman's interest in finding out if government contractors were funding terrorism was "Self righteous finger wagging and political scapegoating [that] won’t make Iraq any more secure, it won’t rebuild that savage nation, and it won’t bring U.S. troops home any sooner.”


The hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform scrutinized the chaotic days that began after a burning and looted Baghdad fell to U.S. troops four years ago. Bremer ran the country for 14 months.
* * * *
Waxman and a hearing witness, special inspector general for Iraq Stuart Bowen Jr., criticized Bremer for failing to install accounting systems that would have forced Iraqi ministries to account for up to $12 billion in Iraq's funds. The money came from a United Nations oil-for-food program and seized Iraqi assets, but fell under Bremer's control.

"Without strong standards, we have no way of knowing whether the cash could end up in enemy hands," said Waxman.

So much for homeland security.

Not all Republicans felt the need to defend the waste and corruption. Other Republicans disagreed with Davis's assessment. "Conservative Republicans should feel no obligation to defend waste just because it happened in Iraq," said Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn.

Democrats are planning more investigations coming up, many of them in Waxman's committee. The newly named, newly energized Oversight Committee scheduled further hearings this week on homeland security contracts and drug prices.

Davis, who had almost 9 years to establish a tip line while he was Chairman, then announced the Republicans would not cooperate with the new Oversight tip email. He had started his own email address, and did not offer to share information collected on it with the majority.

There you have it. Congressional Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on a single tip line for whistleblowers to report waste, fraud and abuse. Makes you wonder how the warring parties will able to get it together long enough to manage the bigger issues on the national agenda.


Anonymous said...

PBS says there is Disagreement on use of oversight
JUDY WOODRUFF: Under questioning from [Rep] Davis about the feasibility of enacting oversight in a war zone, the testimonies of Bowen and Bremer were often at odds.

REP. TOM DAVIS [issues a question that is such a softball, you can't help but wonder if his wife--who for a fee coaches witnesses on testimony before his committee--was hired to plant it]: You obviously made adequate disbursements, you asked for accountability. You had to do this retroactively, because the money had to get out there. And, Mr. Bowen, do you agree with that?

STUART BOWEN: If you disburse the money, you ought to have some -- and I don't mean Wall Street or whatever standard anyone wants to and just something that provides feedback to the interim government about how that money was used. And as our audit indicates, what that something was, the ministry said, yes, we received this money. Yes, we expended it. The level of detail beyond that, as the president of the Board of Supreme Audit has told me, is virtually nonexistent.

PAUL BREMER: Of course, I agree the ideal that the inspector general lays out would be desirable. But we were in the middle of a war, working in very difficult conditions, and we had to move quickly to get this Iraqi money working for the Iraqi people

Kevin said...

Here's my take on the story . . .

I had missed the Davis role. It's stunning the disregard . . . no, that's too mild a word . . . our public officials have for "we the people."