Government Bookkeeping: The Pentagon Cannot Account For $21 Trillion
May 17, 2018
Leave it to the government to break the very rules they themselves have put into place. The Pentagon is supposed to keep an accounting record of monetary transactions, yet they can’t account for $21 trillion of spent money.
For the fiscal year of 2015 alone, the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion in journal voucher adjustments, according to Forbes. That’s not exactly in line with the rules they laid out for themselves:
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” ~ Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, The US Constitution
On July 26, 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report “Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported.” According to the GAO’s Comptroller General, “Journal vouchers are summary-level accounting adjustments made when balances between systems cannot be reconciled. Often these journal vouchers are unsupported, meaning they lack supporting documentation to justify the adjustment or are not tied to specific accounting transactions. For an auditor, journal vouchers are a red flag for transactions not being captured, reported, or summarized correctly.”
Mark Skidmore, a professor of economics at Michigan State University began looking into the OIG report and the trillions in unaccounted for money spent by the Pentagon. Not long after Skidmore began inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, the OIG’s webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported “accounting adjustments,” was mysteriously taken down. Fortunately, Mark copied the July 2016 report and all other relevant OIG-reports in advance and reposted them here. Mark has repeatedly tried to contact Lorin Venable, Assistant Inspector General at the Office of the Inspector General. He has emailed, phoned, and used LinkedIn to ask Venable about OIG’s disclosure of unsubstantiated adjustments, but she has not responded.