You have to feel sorry for Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont lawmaker who keeps attacking the Pentagon for contracting with companies that have engaged in fraud. His latest salvo: the Pentagon has awarded more than $1 trillion in contracts over the past decade to such entities. “The ugly truth,” the Independent Party member says, “is that virtually all of the major defense contractors in this country for years have been engaged in systemic fraudulent behavior.”
Which should make us ask: is the problem the contractors, or the system? We hold no brief here at Battleland for cheating contractors, but the Pentagon procurement system is so befuddlingly complicated that even do-gooders run afoul of its byzantine accounting rules and regulations. Sanders has just released a Defense Department inspector general’s report into such fraud, as well as a handy-dandy listing of who has been convicted for committing it, or settled cases alleging it. Funny thing about that second list: it looks an awful lot like the annual roster of the Pentagon’s top contractors.