Dear editor:

In November 2018, reports surfaced that the Department of Defense, or DOD, failed a comprehensive audit. The 1,200 independent auditors found the DOD’s financial records were so riddled with bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities and errors that a reliable audit was impossible to complete.

Since 1990, all federal government departments and agencies have been required by law to develop auditable accounting systems and submit to annual audits. Every department and agency has complied except the Pentagon.

Research headed by a Michigan State University economics professor reveals that DOD financial records from years 1998-2015 are filled with multiple shifting of funds — referred to by Pentagon insiders as “plugs” and “nippering” — totaling an astonishing $21 trillion in “transactions.” The DOD’s slippery accounting methods and a suspicious disappearance of any supporting documentation make those transactions impossible to trace or explain.

Congress relies on DOD financial statements to decide how much money to give the Pentagon for each fiscal cycle. The DOD receives 54 cents out of every dollar in federal appropriations, and no one knows for sure whether those dollars are being spent legitimately. The Government Accountability Office puts Pentagon spending at high risk for significant fraud, waste and abuse.

Contact your US Representative and Senators (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121) to ask that they stop handing over ever-increasing amounts of money to the Pentagon without requiring substantiation of how the funds are spent. It is not making us safer, and it cheats taxpayers of resources that could be better invested in infrastructure, education and healthcare.

Jeanne Larson, Phillips

Editor’s note: The views of our readers are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email or mail to 500 N. Third St. Suite 208-8; Wausau, WI 54403.