Honest bi-partisan officials know and agree that government waste and fraud are direct threats to the stability of the United States. Fortunately, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has exposed crooked defense contractors for their illegal billing practices.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice released a statement saying that Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII) has agreed to pay $9.2 million in settlement money related to allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in defrauding the government through over-billing.
The specifics of this case are eye-opening. HII stands accused of knowingly over-billing the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard for labor costs connected to the building of ships at a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
These charges of over-billing date all the way back to 2003. HII is also guilty of charging the Navy and Coast Guard for dive operations that never occurred. It is also true that HII charged the Federal government for labor costs that were not incurred on the cited contracts.
Since President Trump took office, the Justice Department has successfully prosecuted various companies for running fraudulent schemes designed to rob the public till.
In July, the Justice Department charged over 400 people with various counts of health care fraud in the largest fraud case in US history. Among those charged, 56 were doctors. These fraudulent schemes cost American taxpayers $1.3 billion.
More aggravating was the fact that 100 of these 400 charges involved individuals illegally procuring opioids from doctors and pharmacists. This revelation pulls back the curtain on how pharmaceutical companies, and the politicians that they control, willingly cooperate in expanding America’s opioid epidemic. Trump takes this epidemic seriously enough that he recently authorized the Justice Department to use all available resources in combating this public health crisis.
On Monday, the Justice Department also announced that it had charged a resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida, with operating a stolen identity scheme that saw Jean Leroy Destine, 36, use stolen IDs to receive $2 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
Finally, on Tuesday, the Justice Department released information regarding the recent arraignment of Commander Bobby Pitts, 48, an active-duty Navy officer charged with conspiring to defraud the federal government. From 2009 until 2011, while serving as the officer in charge of the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore, Pitts provided Leonard Francis with sensitive information in the hopes of obstructing an NCIS investigation into Francis’ over-billing of the Navy.
All of this news highlights why Trump would be remiss to fire AG Sessions. Under Sessions’ watch, the Justice Department has not only cracked down on government waste and fraud, but it has also gone after criminal gangs in the United States and has threatened so-called “sanctuary cities” with sharp penalties for refusing to cooperate with ICE and other federal law enforcement agencies.
At a time when President Trump is facing renewed calls to purge his administration of “America First” national populists like Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and Dr. Sebastian Gorka, he should not cave in or give one inch. The President should also keep Sessions in place as well.