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U.S.A.: Influential Republican Senator Presses Bush Administration on Status of Spending by Coalition Provisional Authority

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and chairman of Senate Finance Committeem, sends Feb. 17 letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting update on Bush administration's position regarding legal status of the Coalition Provisional Authority and questions of contract fraud in Iraq.

by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IowaU.S. Senate
February 17th, 2005

February 17, 2005
 
 
Via mail and facsimile (202) 324-6490
Original via USPS Mail
 
The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20535
 
Dear Attorney General Gonzales:
 
            As a long-standing and outspoken critic of
waste, fraud and abuse in the United States
Government, and as a committed supporter of the False
Claims Act ("FCA"), I want to bring to your attention
a matter involving fraud, waste and abuse that may
have occurred during the reconstruction of Iraq.
Specifically, it has come to my attention that the
United States Government has been invited to address
an important issue regarding the FCA in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

    In an order dated December 21, 2004, United States
District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, III invited the
United States Government to brief the court by January
21, 2005 (subsequently continued by additional orders,
to February 18, 2005), on its position regarding the
application of the FCA to contracts administered under
the purview of the Coalition Provisional Authority
("CPA") in the matter of United States ex rel. DRC,
Inc. et al. v. Custer Battles, LLC, Case No.1:04cv199
(E.D. Va.). This is the first case to be unsealed that
relates to fraudulent contracting during the
reconstruction of Iraq.  Accordingly, I request that
you keep me advised as to whether or not the
Department of Justice (Department) intends to file a
brief on behalf of the U.S. Government in this seminal
matter.
 
            As the American public continues to
bankroll a vast majority of reconstruction and
stabilization projects in Iraq, billions of taxpayer
dollars are at stake.  If the FCA is found not to
apply to any contract entered into by the CPA, any
recovery for fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer
dollars under the FCA would be prohibited.  In
addition, I would like to remind you of the potential
danger that a negative precedent in this matter would
create for the future claims filed under the FCA.   
 
            In closing, I thank you for the commitment
you gave me at your confirmation hearing to ensure
that the FCA is protected.  In working to root out
waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars I have
found no tool more helpful than that of the FCA.  As
the Senate author of the 1986 amendments to the FCA, I
have fought long and hard to strengthen that law and I
continue to believe that it is instrumental in
preventing wasteful spending in all government
programs.

    As the deadline for filing a brief on this matter is
February 18, 2005, I would appreciate a status update
on this matter before the filing deadline passes.
Should you have a questions on this matter or any
other matter please feel free to contact either Emilia
DiSanto or Nick Podsiadly of my staff at 202.224.4515.


                                                     
                 Sincerely,
 
 
 
                                                     
                 Charles E. Grassley
                                                     
                 United States Senator





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