News Flash: Not All Republicans Are Above The Law

From Holden:

Via MoJo Blog, the Department of Justice reluctantly agrees that defrauding the Coalition Provisional Authority is indeed illegal.

Contractors for the former Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq can be sued in U.S. courts under an anti-war-profiteering law, the Justice Department contended in a federal case Friday.

Government lawyers said the federal False Claims Act applies to contracts issued by the CPA, which ran Iraq from shortly after the 2003 invasion until it handed over power to an interim Iraqi government last June.

Although much of the money the CPA used was seized from the former government of Saddam Hussein, U.S. government or military workers distributed it, making fraud against the CPA equal to fraud against the U.S., a group of Justice Department lawyers said in a court brief.

The brief came in response to a judge hearing a fraud lawsuit against the security firm Custer Battles LLC. Two former employees are suing Custer Battles, saying the firm fleeced the CPA out of about $50 million. The company denies any wrongdoing.

For background on Custer Battles, check out these two posts.

This is an important precedent, but the action of DOJ does not go nearly far enough. The government should be aggressively investigating the rampant corruption that was the CPA, rather than agreeing that outright thievery is indeed illegal.

The DOJ brief provided another interesting tid-bit.

The Justice Department brief also gives details of how the United States moved money to Baghdad to fund the fledgling Iraqi government and pay contractors.

A dozen U.S. military flights carried about $10.3 billion in cash to Baghdad during the time the CPA was governing Iraq, the brief said. That currency was deposited in the Central Bank of Iraq. The CPA used wire transfers to make another $6 billion in payments, the brief said.

So, we shipped $10.3 billion to the CPA, and they lost track of $9 billion? That’s quite a track record there for Presidential Medla of Freedom winner Paul Bremer.