McCaskill Means Business - The Missourian: Opinion

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McCaskill Means Business

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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:00 pm

Ever since she was elected to the U.S. Senate, Claire McCaskill of Missouri has worked tirelessly to bring accountability to federal contracts. In short, she has tried to put a stop to waste and fraud in federal government operations. It’s a rich field to probe, especially during wartime. There are many starting points.

For her efforts and leadership, Sen. McCaskill has been named chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. A former prosecutor and Missouri auditor, Sen. McCaskill is up to the job. She’s been fighting government waste, fraud and abuse since entering the Senate six years ago.

In her new role, she will turn from a primary focus on contracting to the operations of every federal agency and department. She’s going to be busy. Waste is in the core of every government dollar — or so it seems. She put federal agencies on notice: “I plan to carry the same determination from our wartime contracting fight to this expanded effort to root out waste and fraud, protect taxpayer dollars and bring a new level of accountability and transparency to government.”

That’s a noble goal and a huge mountain of spending and waste to conquer. By some twisted logic, some people think federal dollars are free for the picking. There is no way to prove it, but based on past disclosures of waste and fraud by federal agencies and departments, abuses are rampant. The waste and misuse of federal aid have been going on for years, according to reports.

The senator’s new subcommittee will expand her jurisdiction, allowing her an oversight role over spending at every federal agency and department. She will have more staff and investigative resources. Hearings by her panel will begin in the coming weeks.

One thing we admired about Sen. McCaskill when she was state auditor was that she didn’t care whose toes she stepped on in her zeal to conduct audits to weed out mismanagement, waste and fraud. She was a serious public watchdog then and she still is.

She brought a new standard for accountability to Washington, D.C., much like Harry Truman did when he was in the Senate during World War II. Let’s call it a Missouri brand of oversight. Truman investigated spending waste, especially government defense contracts in which there was wasteful spending and fraud.

Sen. McCaskill’s new role should serve as a warning to government bureaucrats and those who do business with the federal government that accountability is coming. Call it the McCaskill Wave of Accountability.

Sen. McCaskill means business!

/opinion