News Release

New Trump Nominee and the Pentagon Accounting Scandal

Numerous media outlets are reporting that Trump will nominate acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan to head up the Pentagon.

DAVE LINDORFF, dlindorff at gmail.com
Lindorff is founder of the independent collectively-run journalists’ news site ThisCantBeHappening.net. He wrote “Exclusive: The Pentagon’s Massive Accounting Scandal Exposed,” a Nation magazine cover story, which includes a discussion of Deputy Secretary of Defense Shanahan’s role in last year’s failed Pentagon audit. He has also scrutinized Shanahan’s alleged corruption in favoring contracts for his former employer, Boeing.

Earlier this year, Lindorff won the “Izzy” award for outstanding independent journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media for “uncovering the opaqueness of Pentagon accounts and bloated military budgets.”

Lindorff said today: “Shanahan was ‘cleared’ by the Pentagon of charges that he favored his old employer in contract awards by the Pentagon. Shanahan oversaw the first ever complete audit (not!) of the Pentagon last year which ended in a blowout failure on Nov. 15. In announcing the failure, he made light of it, saying ‘We expected to fail,’ and asked the press corps to give the Pentagon credit ‘for trying.’ This is laughable. For 20 years they have stonewalled Congressional orders to develop an auditable budget — something every other federal agency and department has had to do and has been able to do. That the Pentagon hasn’t done it is an outrage and is inexcusable. …

“What I found was how the Pentagon’s accountants for decades have been simply making up the numbers, internally referred to disparagingly as ‘plugs,’ in the annual financial reports on Pentagon spending submitted to Congress in support of each year’s typically ever larger budget requests.

“While other departments are routinely audited, the Pentagon failed its first-ever outside full departmental audit last November, yet Congress continues to rubber stamp out-of-control military spending that accounts for over 54 percent of all discretionary federal spending year after year.

“This May 20, the Senate will begin considering (if the process can really be called ‘considering’) the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which at $750 billion would be a record for the post-WWII era in constant dollars, exceeding even the years of the Vietnam War and the height of the Cold War. A vote on the NDAA in the Senate is slated for May 22, only a few days later.

“Congress’s routine passing of such colossal military budgets year after year without any real oversight is an astounding abdication of Constitutional responsibility.”

Lindorff wrote the book The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006).