Good news in contracting fraud

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

As it turns out, contractors in Iraq who worked for the Coalition Provision Authority (CPA) may not, in fact, be above the law after all. That was the outcome of a Friday ruling against Custer Battles, a private contractor that has been accused of fraud by former employees. Lawyers for the company had claimed that the U.S. had no jurisdiction over the fraud case because the CPA was akin to a sovereign entity. But under that logic, contractors would also have been exempt from Iraqi law, meaning that country would have the legal means to battle contractor corruption.

The ruling sets an important precedent, and aids the Justice Department’s efforts to sue CPA contractors in US courts under anti-war profiteering laws. It’s also an important win for attorneys like Alan Grayson, who is currently representing former Custer Battles employees. But even though the ruling is a positive step towards enforcing accountability among contractors, another lawyer, Victor Kubli “the [Justice Department’s] brief raises the ‘pregnant question’ of why U.S. officials originally said CPA contracts were not covered by the U.S. anti-fraud law.” Why, indeed.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend