Occupation Authority Mishandling of Funds

Another day, another scandal revealed--and--to be--quickly forgotten.

If bagloads of cash (in $100,000 bricks) had been delivered to Democratic party supporters by a Democratic administration, there would have been a dozen hearings in Congress and an independent prosecution. The furor would have been tripled if the recipients had been Chinese American or Buddhist. But the cavalier mismanagement by the Occupation Authorities, headed by political appointees of the Bush Administration (including Pro-Consul Paul Bremer), goes almost unremarked on by the cowed Congress and media. And the error is likely even more sinful when one is occupying someone else's country (for benevolent purposes): It may be mismanaging not the money of the American people, but Iraqi money. Congressional Democrats thankfully have sought to examine the bumbling of the Occupation Authority. And there is a criminal investigation underway, probably through the work of the excellent line prosecutors at Justice.

Here's a clip from the Washington Post story.

On at least two occasions, Willis said, the firm was paid $2 million from a vault in the authority's basement, served up in $100,000 plastic-wrapped bricks of cash.

"We called in Mike Battles and said, 'Bring a bag,' " Willis said.

Michael Battles and Scott K. Custer, both former U.S. Special Operations soldiers, founded the company in 2002. Battles ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for Congress in Rhode Island that year.

After an interview with Custer in January 2004, agents from the Pentagon inspector general's office wrote, "Battles is very active in the Republican Party and speaks to individuals he knows at the White House almost daily, according to Custer." A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.

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