by Kagro X
Back in August, I wrote a diary at Daily Kos noting the "Iran-Contrafication of Iraq." The subject that day was the technicality that let one of the most
disgusting and widely-reviled innocent and otherwise wonderful Iraq war profiteers -- contractor Custer Battles -- escape enjoy justice. Do you remember what it was?
The verdict reached $10 million because the law calls for triple damages, plus penalties fines and legal costs. But U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, in a ruling made public Friday, ruled that Custer Battles' accusers failed to prove that the U.S. government was ever defrauded. Any fraud that occurred was perpetrated instead against the Coalition Provisional Authority, formed shortly after the war to run Iraq during the occupation until an Iraqi government was established. Ellis ruled that the trial evidence failed to show that the U.S. government was the actual victim, even though U.S. taxpayers ultimately footed the bill.
That's right. If you defrauded American taxpayers through the cut-out of the Coalition Provisional Authority -- and let's face it, just about everyone did -- you're off the hook. Because although the CPA paid you with money provided by the American government, and was almost entirely staffed by the American government, and acted at the behest of the American government, technically speaking it wasn't the American government. So those bricks of taxpayer cash are yours to keep. Hooray for you! Even better, Judge Ellis recently threw out the remaining charges against Custer Battles.
Yesterday's ruling involved a second case brought under a federal whistle-blower statute by Robert Isakson, who worked for a Custer Battles subcontractor, and William D. Baldwin, who worked for Custer Battles. They alleged that the company failed to make good on a commitment to provide 138 people as part of its airport security contract. Instead, Alan Grayson, an attorney for Isakson and Baldwin, said Custer Battles moved airport personnel to other contracts and illegally double-billed for their work. Ellis, however, ruled that the contract didn't call for a specific number of security personnel, and he found that Custer Battles did not knowingly commit fraud.
Of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the contract didn't call for a specific number of security personnel. Why not? Well, according to former Army inspector general Col. Richard Ballard:
Custer Battles should not have charged the CPA for security services because they were not needed; the airport terminal had already been secured by about 21,000 allied troops.
Your tax dollars at work.