The final version of the $87 billion spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan is missing provisions the Senate had passed to penalize war profiteers who defraud American taxpayers. House negotiators on the package refused to accept the Senate provisions.
The Senate provision was authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). It was one of the last major sticking points this week as negotiators worked through the compromise appropriations bill. The conferees narrowly defeated the amendment after lengthy debate, with House negotiators offering no substitute and no willingness to compromise, despite repeated offers from Senate conferees to negotiate the language. Republican and Democratic Senate conferees consistently supported the provision, which had been unanimously accepted during Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the bill.
Leahy, Feinstein and Durbin will re-introduce the legislation again as a separate bill and will work to win its passage. But because criminal penalties cannot be made retroactive, the absence of penalties in this supplemental appropriations bill will hamper efforts to crack down on war profiteering that involves funds from this bill.
Whoever, in any matter involving a contract or the provision of goods or services, directly or indirectly, in connection with the war, military action, or relief or reconstruction activities in Iraq, knowingly and willfully...materially overvalues any good or service with the specific intent to excessively profit from the war, military action, or relief or reconstruction activities in Iraq...
shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. In lieu of a fine otherwise authorized by this section, a defendant who derives profits or other proceeds from an offense under this section may be fined not more than twice the gross profits or other proceeds.
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