WASHINGTON -- Two companies monitoring billions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction contracts have business relationships with some of the contractors they're overseeing, a report by congressional Democrats concluded yesterday.
The report questioned the neutrality of Parsons and CH2M Hill, firms hired to detect fraud, waste, and abuse in noncompetitive rebuilding contracts that have no cost limitations.
"My advice to taxpayers is, 'Hold on to your wallet,' " Representative John Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, said at a press conference.
Spokesmen for Parsons, of Pasadena, Calif., and CH2M Hill, of Englewood, Colo., would not immediately comment on the report issued by Dingell and three other Democrats: Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, and Representative Henry A. Waxman of California
The four said they would propose amendments to Defense Department spending legislation that would require termination of the two watchdog contracts and five similar contracts that were not studied by the Democrats.
Parsons and CH2M Hill are being paid $28.5 million in a joint venture to oversee $1.7 billion in public works and water construction projects; while $43 million went to a joint venture of Parsons and Parsons-Brinckerhoff of New York City to watch over $1.6 billion in work on power generation, transmission, and distribution.
The report found that Parsons is the business partner of