What Claire McCaskill can't get enough of
The Kansas City Star
Claire McCaskill is fighting mightily to retain her seat in the U.S. Senate, so she must have something she really wants to do in a second term, right?
She does, the Democrat from Missouri said today while visiting editorial writers and reporters from The Kansas City Star.
Contracting. She wants another term partly to continue her oversight over government contracts, particularly military contracts.
“The contracting in the federal government is embarrassingly incompetent,” McCaskill said. McCaskill gets bipartisan credit for making progress on this front. She sponsored legislation creating the Commission on Wartime Contracting, an eight-member panel which investigates wartime contracting practices.
Her best day in the Senate, McCaskill said, was when word was relayed to her that officials in Afghanistan were contemplating awarding a no-bid contract until somebody cautioned, “If you do that McCaskill will be all over it.”
“We’ve given notice that core competency is important in government,” McCaskill said. “I feel like I’m knowledgeable now. I’d love to have another six years to stay on the contracting.”
That’s not a glamorous cause, but it’s a good one. While politicians like to complain about the “unelected bureaucrats” in the federal government (whose average salary, for those with permanent appointments, is $76,000 a year), few people are watching the wealth being amassed by the people who have figured out how to leverage federal contracting, or the waste involved with those contracts.
Missourians are well served by a senator with an auditing background who is passionate about rooting out that waste.
McCaskill serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, a part of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
During the interview, she took an indirect shot at GOP presidential nominee and his running mate, Paul Ryan, for their insistence that the defense budget remain sacrosanct.
“Anybody who thinks defeense can’t be cut hasn’t spent a lot of time looking at the Pentagon,” McCaskill said.