REMINDER: The DOD Spent $21 Trillion of Taxpayer Money Between 1998 and 2015 that Was Unauthorized and Unaccounted For


Here’s a reminder that the Department of Defense has failed to pass annual audits for five years straight and has spent tens of trillions of dollars that is still unaccounted for. In 2018, for example, researchers at Michigan State University discovered $21 trillion in spending amongst the DOD’s summary-level accounting that was unauthorized and unexplained for the years between 1998 and 2015.

In 2017, a group of Michigan State University (MSU) graduate students, led by MSU department chair and economist Mark Skidmore (who’s estimated more than 278,000 COVID “vaccine”-related deaths in the U.S. alone in 2021), discovered $21 trillion in “unauthorized spending” had been reported by the Department of Defense (DOD) between 1998 and 2015. The group calculated the massive amount of unauthorized spending by analyzing troves of publicly available government documents and financial data.

“We know from official government sources that indicate $21 trillion is, in some way, unaccounted for,” Skidmore told in December 2017. “Furthermore, if we come back to the Constitution, all spending needs to be authorized by Congress.  It looks to me, and I think I can conclude with a high degree of certainty, there is money flowing in, as well as out, that is unaccounted for. . . .” Skidmore added.

Unsurprisingly, queries by Skidmore for further accounting information sent to U.S. agencies went unanswered. Skidmore even told USAWatchdog that the Office of Inspector General “disabled the links” to all key documents that evinced the “unsupported” spending.

Luckily, the group of researchers successfully archived the documents ahead of time.

Skidmore speculated at the time that his team’s research “may have made a difference” in the DOD’s decision to roll out its first-ever independent audit, for which the department hired 1,200 auditors to examine its finances. In November 2018, eleven months after MSU’s December 2017 analysis was published, the Pentagon announced it had failed the audit. At the time, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan was unable to admit just how much money was unaccounted for. Shanahan told Reuters “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.”

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan / Image: Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley, U.S. Air Force

It appears the auditors were unable to successfully complete a reliable Pentagon audit due to the number of bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors in the DOD’s financial records.

“No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time,”  Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, of the U.S. Constitution reads. Catherine Austin Fitts, an investment banker and former HUD official who co-authored the report with Skidmore, notes this fact in a post covering the duo’s research on her website, the Solari Report. Fitts kicked off Skidmore’s analysis of the missing funds when she brought to light the fact that $6.5 trillion in “unsupported journal voucher adjustments” had been reported in the Army’s 2015 budget.

In their report, Fitts and Skidmore offer the Office of the Comptroller’s definition of these unsupported journal voucher adjustments, which notes that they’re “summary-level accounting adjustments made when balances between systems cannot be reconciled.” The definition notes these adjustments “lack supporting documentation to justify the adjustment or are not tied to specific accounting transactions.”

Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, also dug into the shocking money issue. After interviewing government officials, both current and former, Lindorff called the Pentagon’s accounting “phony” and said the bookkeeping is recorded in a way that pushes “US military spending higher year after year.”

In January 2020, the Pentagon again failed an audit. Bloomberg’s Anthony Carpaccio said the DOD made $35 trillion in “accounting adjustments” in 2019 alone.

The $35 trillion in adjustments “dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget, a spending plan that includes the most expensive weapons systems in the world including the F-35 jet as well as new aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines,” Carpaccio explained. He noted that the figure was “larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department’s continuing difficulty in balancing its books.”

“Although it gets scant public attention…the reliability of the Pentagon’s financial statement is an indication of how effectively the military manages its resources considering that it receives over half of discretionary domestic spending,” the defense reporter added.

Following its 2022 audit failure, the Pentagon officially failed five audits in a row. All other federal agencies have apparently passed their annual audits since 2013.

Feature image: Giorgio Travato

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