The Defense Department’s reporting of fraud cases to the Justice Department dropped 76 percent during the Bush Administration, according to Justice Department data obtained by the non-profit Center for Public Integrity. During the same period, contracting at the department (and government in general) more than doubled, the report notes.
This leaves the question: did the department underreport fraud? The story suggests yes, citing concerns from the Defense Inspector General and the fact that investigative staffs shrunk alongside the decline in fraud reports.
In December, new rules went into effect requiring contractors tell on themselves or face suspension or debarment if they discover they’ve overcharged the government or committed fraud. The rules were driven by the Justice Department, which had previously expressed concerns that the Defense Department’s voluntary disclosure program wasn’t yielding the number of disclosures it had in the past.