Wealth disparity in Congress as lawmakers disclosure their finances; KBR can’t decide if it’s “Support the Troops” or “All for the Ca$h;” McCain’s soft-money cash cow is called what again; and William Jefferson starts to pay back a loan to businessman who is currently a government witness against him. If you work for the Army, don’t do your job, it could get you fired. This is today’s news:
Yesterday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill disclosed their personal finances to the public highlighting recent news stories and controversies. At least a dozen lawmakers report loans from Countrywide on their personal financial disclosure forms. Last year, nine lawmakers reported loans from the mortgage giant currently embroiled in a Justice Department probe and a congressional influence scandal. There is no implication of wrongdoing on their part. Tardiness consistently plagues the financial disclosure process. This year, sixty-six lawmakers in the House failed to disclose on time. Meanwhile, the economic downturn hit some lawmaker finances hard. Both Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel lost millions of dollars as the market dropped. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, however, both grew their personal fortunes. (Check out previous personal finance data at Fortune 535 or Open Secrets.)
An Army contracting officer reports that he was fired in 2004 for refusing to approve $1 billion in questionable charges from KBR, the defense contractor providing food and housing for Army troops in Iraq. The inspector general for Iraq reconstruction reported last year that KBR was using improper procedures and failed to keep appropriate records. When the officer told KBR that he would withhold payment the contractor replied that if they were not paid for the questionable charges they would “reduce payments to subcontractors, which in turn would cut back on services.” It’s nice to know that our contractors use our countries soldiers as a chit in a game to make more loot.
A non-profit headed by allies and former staffers of Sen. John McCain repeatedly accepted large soft money contributions from corporations with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, which McCain chaired at the time. The Reform Institute (that’s the actual name) pushed issues like campaign finance reform and largely mirrored the efforts of McCain.
Rep. William Jefferson is finally paying back a loan to a businessman who is currently a government witness against the embattled New Orleans lawmaker. No word on the temperature of the money used to pay back the loan.