Sanders asks Mattis to 'crack down' on waste and abuse of defense contractors

By Thomas Duffy / March 14, 2018 at 10:36 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, is asking Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to "crack down" on what Sanders sees as "widespread waste and abuse of private defense contractors."

In a March 14 letter to Mattis, Sanders asks that three issues be investigated: "1) the excessive compensation of defense contractors; 2) the widespread misconduct and fraud in the defense contracting industry; and, 3) massive cost overruns in the acquisition budget."

Sanders points out to Mattis that the CEOs of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were each paid over $20 million in compensation last year. That is about 100 times more than Mattis' salary, Sanders said. He is asking Mattis for a list of recommendations "on reducing excessive defense contractor compensation" and what, if anything, the Defense Department is doing to address the issue.

Contractor fraud is another target for Sanders. In his letter, Sanders said that since 1995 Boeing, Lockheed and United Technologies "have paid nearly $3 billion in fines or related settlements for fraud or misconduct.

"Yet, those three companies received about $800 billion in defense contracts over the past 18 years," Sanders continued.

He is asking Mattis for DOD's strategy "to prevent future fraud so that defense contractors cannot continue to fleece American taxpayers?"

Finally, Sanders wants answers from Mattis on how DOD plans to control the cost of acquisition programs.

"What is the Pentagon doing to hold defense contractors accountable for the significant cost overruns that American taxpayers have been forced to pay?" Sanders wrote.