Welch doesn’t trust new Bush crack down on overseas contractors

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(Host) Congressman Peter Welch says he doesn’t trust the Bush administration to crack down on fraud and abuse by contractors working overseas.

That’s even though the administration has reversed course. The Justice Department says all contractors – both and domestic and foreign – now have to police themselves to make sure federal money is being spent appropriately.

Welch says that’s not good enough for him.

(Welch) “Frankly, I don’t have a high level of trust for the Bush administration. That they tolerated this exemption has lead to enormous waste, fraud and abuse. That’s been documented.”

(Host) So Welch is pushing for a bill he introduced requiring contractors to monitor for abuse.

The Justice Department adopted rules last year requiring companies to conduct audits and internal reviews to make sure federal money is being spent appropriately.

But the rules explicitly exempted companies operating overseas. The administration says that was a mistake but Welch says that doesn’t give him any comfort.

(Welch) “It’s really quite amazing because they’re defending against conspiracy by saying they’re incompetent. And, frankly, I think taxpayers are entitled to more protection than that.”

(Host) Welch says he also wants to hear from some of the large contractors, such as Blackwater, who have been defending the exemption that was put in the original rule.

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