A quarter of all complaints received by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction have come from subcontractors claiming that U.S. contractors never paid them for their work.
In an alert letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, SIGAR John Sopko, said the watchdog agency is currently investigating 52 complaints involving $69 million of outstanding payments. Sopko said that “missed payments have resulted in the delay of projects promoting the stability of Afghanistan.”
Forty-four other similar complaints were filed over the past six months with the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Defense Department’s inspectors general. - Read more at GovExec
AMERICANS ARE GIVING MORE Despite persistently high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty, Americans were quite generous in 2012. They donated an estimated $316.2 billion, up 3.5 percent from the previous year. That’s according to a new report from the Giving USA foundation and Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The new report shows that giving by individual donors climbed almost 4 percent to $228.9 billion, while corporate donations rose by 12.2 percent to $18.2 billion.
"Historically, giving is a lagging indicator of the economy," Eileen Heisman, president and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, told CNN Money. "The positive data in Giving USA's report indicates Americans may be feeling more confident about the global economy." - Read more at CNN Money
OBAMA TO TAP COMEY FOR FBI POST The president this afternoon will formally announce the nomination of James Comey, a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to become the next director of the F.B.I. Comey is best known for refusing to reauthorize a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program as deputy director under Bush. Of course, the program was ultimately reauthorized, but under a different legal framework. During his confirmation hearing, Comey will likely be questioned about his views on the NSA’s surveillance program that was exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. - Read more at The New York Times
DOW SUFFERS WORST DAY OF THE YEAR The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 353 points or 2.3 percent, on Thursday-- its worst day of 2013. The markets were rattled by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement Wednesday that the Fed would likely begin scaling back its easy money program next year if the economy continues to improve. - Read more at The Hill
FARM BILL FAILS (AGAIN) The House surprisingly rejected the $940 billion farm bill Thursday afternoon by a vote of 234 to 195. The bill went down in flames after cost-conscious Republicans teamed up with Democratic defenders of food stamps. “This is the second year in a row that Congress has failed to muster sufficient support to rewrite national farm legislation – a major embarrassment for congressional leaders,” The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin writes. - Read more at The Fiscal Times