Posted at 11:21 AM on September 22, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Democrat Al Franken held a news conference today to criticize GOP Sen. Norm Coleman for not conducting an investigation into miltary contracts in in Iraq and Afghanistan (read Franken release here). When the GOP controlled the Senate, Coleman was the chair of the Permanent Subcomittee on Investigations. Franken also addressed his thoughts on the bailout package for the financial markets. You can listen to the audio here:
Coieman's campaign released this statement before the Franken newser even started. Here's part of it:
Norm Coleman has been a strong supporter of a non-partisan entity created by Congress to conduct oversight in Iraq, working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create the office of the Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction, to save and extend the office when it was slated to be terminated, and to expand the capabilities of the office. (11/13/06 legislation introduced by Collins, Feingold, Coleman; 11/14/06 Senate passed legislation to extend SIGIR; 9/28/07 Senate passes Coleman/Collins Amdt to DOD Authorization to expand and extend SIGIR)
SIGIR was created in October 2004 and reports to both the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, in addition to providing quarterly reports to Congress. SIGIR alone has conducted 216 audits and has been responsible for $58 million in savings and $40 million in funds that have been redirected to be used more efficiently. In addition, SIGIR's investigative work has led to 14 indictments and arrests.
Over 50 oversight hearings have been held in Congress; more than 110 Government Accountability Office investigations on Iraq-related activities including over 50 on Iraq contracting; and at least 12 different entities are overseeing US government operations and expenditures related to Iraq.
(Thanks to MPR's Mark Zdechlik for supplying the Franken audio and photo).