We may have stumbled across a means for Tea Party groups to be approved by the IRS. Just put al Qaeda on your 501(c)(4) application. Heck, tea partiers have been called terrorists for years now, so what the heck?
The U.S. Army is refusing to suspend contracts with dozens of companies and individuals tied to Al Qaeda and other extremist groups out of concern for their “due process rights,” despite repeated pleas from the chief watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction.
In a scathing passage of his latest report to Congress, Special Inspector General John Sopko said his office has urged the Army to suspend or debar 43 contractors over concerns about ties to the Afghanistan insurgency, “including supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and al Qaeda.”
Sopko wrote that the Army “rejected” every single case.
“The Army Suspension and Debarment Office appears to believe that suspension or debarment of these individuals and companies would be a violation of their due process rights if based on classified information or if based on findings by the Department of Commerce,” Sopko said, summing up the Army’s position.
The Army claims that Sopko’s office did not provide enough evidence to support its claims.
“The Army Procurement Fraud Branch did receive and review the 43 recommendations late last year, but the report did not include enough supporting evidence to initiate suspension and debarment proceedings under Federal Acquisition Regulations,” an Army spokesman said in a written statement.
The IG report was released last week, shortly before the U.S. government issued a global travel alert to Americans and shuttered nearly two-dozen embassies over the weekend out of concern over a possible Al Qaeda-driven plot.
In a normal world this would be big news.
Sopko pointed out the apparent disconnect between one part of the Army that is killing insurgents and the other part that allegedly is doing business with them.
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” he wrote in a letter attached to the report.
In the report itself, his office noted that the U.S. has suspended 59 contractors and debarred 68 contractors following allegations that they were engaged in fraud and other misconduct.
But the report said the refusal to send the same message to companies allegedly supporting terror and militant organizations is a “continuing problem.”