Unless Congress closes a gaping hole in the law against war profiteering, companies ripping off taxpayers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may never be fully prosecuted. The anti-fraud law dating to World War II allows prosecution of contractors up to three years after a war ends. But this statute of limitations was omitted from the resolutions authorising military force in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The solution is a bipartisan bill clarifying that â€œwarâ€ absolutely includes Congressional authorisations of military force. The repair also wisely allows prosecution for five years after a war. The Senate Judiciary Committee just approved this crucial measure and the
rest of Congress should quickly enact it. Or else the loophole will continue to invite war contracting as a free-for-all with no criminal accountability.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, is sitting on a backlog of more than 900 cases in which whistle-blowers have accused government contractors of billions in fraud, in both military and domestic spending. Long delays bog down the information in secrecy as the department, understaffed and overloaded, weighs if the allegations have merit. On both the war front and the home front, the government must do a convincing job of going after profiteers who are gouging taxpayers. â€” The New York Times