Friday, January 05, 2007

Leahy Introduces Bills To Combat War Profiteering, Public Corruption


WASHINGTON (Thursday, January 4) – Signaling a renewed emphasis on combating corruption at home and abroad, incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), introduced a package of bills Thursday targeting corrupt officials and private companies seeking to defraud American taxpayers and troops.

“Americans want the culture of corruption to end. From war profiteers and corrupt officials in Iraq, to convicted Administration officials, to influence-peddling lobbyists and, regrettably, even members of Congress, too many supposed public servants have been serving their own interests, rather than the public interest,” said Leahy.

Many Democratic Senators joined Leahy in reintroducing a bill creating criminal penalties for war profiteers and cheats who would exploit taxpayer-funded efforts in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. The War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007 builds on earlier efforts by Leahy, who is also a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, to crack down on this type of rampant fraud and abuse. It is similar to legislation Leahy introduced in 2003, that was subsequently passed by the Senate as part of an appropriations bill but later torpedoed by the White House and the House Republican leadership, which stripped out the Leahy provision.

Also on Thursday, Leahy joined with Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), on another anti-corruption measure aimed at strengthening the tools available to federal prosecutors in combating public corruption. This bill gives investigators and prosecutors the statutory tools and the resources that they need to ensure that serious and insidious public corruption is detected and punished, including extending the statute of limitations on some of the worst crimes.

“The American people staged an intervention during the November elections and made it clear that they would not stand for it any longer. They expect the Congress to take action, and these bills are a good first step toward meeting that call,” Leahy said. “We need to restore the people’s trust by acting to clean up the people’s government.”

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