What: All Issues : War & Peace : War with Iraq : On passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) making it a crime for a company to illegally profit on contracts in connection with military or rebuilding activities in Iraq and Afghanistan -- punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines. (2004 senate Roll Call 120)
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On passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) making it a crime for a company to illegally profit on contracts in connection with military or rebuilding activities in Iraq and Afghanistan -- punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines.
senate Roll Call 120     Jun 16, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Progressives failed to shepherd through the passage of this amendment offered by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) that would have made it a crime for a company to illegally profit on contracts in connection with military or rebuilding activities in Iraq and Afghanistan -- punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines. Notwithstanding numerous examples in which government defense contractors have overcharged the United States hundreds of millions of dollars in meals, vehicles, housing, and construction in Iraq and Afghanistan, the federal government's hands "are tied, because current law does not specifically outlaw war profiteering," Leahy said. He added, "My amendment does specifically outlaw war profiteering. Current statute does not say that U.S. courts have explicit and uncategorical jurisdiction over fraud and profiteering in Iraq. My amendment does. Frankly, what I want to do is not just to throw people in the slammer; I want to stop them from doing it in the first place." Leahy's amendment was rejected 46-52, with no Republicans voting in its favor. Conservatives argued that the sorts of acts Leahy wants to prevent and punish already are covered by existing criminal statutes. In countering Leahy's amendment, Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) said, "I think what is going to happen, if your amendment will be adopted, is that this infrastructure of tens of thousands of individuals and companies out there right now is going to say: We are out of this; we are not going to subject our people, we are not going to subject our business to the risk of this type of prosecution under these vague standards." The rejection of Leahy's amendment means that war profiteering will not be designated as a specific, prosecutable crime under U.S. law.

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