The senators sent a letter to Defense Department Comptroller
Robert Hale urging the Pentagon to stop an accounting practice
widely known as "plugging." The letter, dated June 12, 2014, said
that plugs are fictitious dollar amounts inserted into financial
ledgers to make it appear that the Pentagonís books balance.
The letter (http://1.usa.gov/1kwEY2X) was sent by Charles Grassley,
Tom Coburn, Thomas Carper and Ron Johnson. The four senators have
been pressing for a solution to severe accounting problems at the
Pentagon, whose spending accounts for the largest chunk by far of
the annual federal budget approved by Congress. Grassley is the
senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee; the others hold
top positions on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
The senators said that plugs, called "reconciling amounts" by the
Pentagon, totaled $9.6 billion in 2013 - an 80% increase since 2008.
The letter asked Hale and Pentagon Inspector General Jon Rymer to
provide the senators with a plan to end the practice, including a
The legislators criticized the Office of the Inspector General - the
internal Pentagon unit charged with policing the agency - for using
more than $200 million worth of plugs to balance its own accounts.
"In order to play a leadership role in financial management reform,
the DoD OIG should start by ending the use of plugging in its own
financial statements," they wrote.
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The Pentagon's practice of faking its budget numbers was the subject
of a Reuters investigation last year on accounting malpractice at
the Defense Department. The Senate letter to Hale and Rymer cited
the findings of the
"The department will respond to the letter in an appropriate
manner," a Pentagon spokesman said.
Michael Thiem, spokesman for the inspector general, said: "At the
office of the inspector general, we are committed to accurate and
transparent financial reporting." He said the office would continue
"aggressive oversight" of the Defense Department to improve
(Edited by Michael Williams)
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