Topics
Administration
Congress
Democrats
Elections
Ethics
Governor -- Alabama
Governor -- Alaska
Governor -- Arizona
Governor -- California
Governor -- Colorado
Governor -- Connecticut
Governor -- Delaware
Governor -- Florida
Governor -- Georgia
Governor -- Hawaii
Governor -- Illinois
Governor -- Indiana
Governor -- Iowa
Governor -- Kentucky
Governor -- Louisiana
Governor -- Maryland
Governor -- Massachusetts
Governor -- Michigan
Governor -- Minnesota
Governor -- Missouri
Governor -- Montana
Governor -- Nevada
Governor -- New Hampshire
Governor -- New Jersey
Governor -- New Mexico
Governor -- New York
Governor -- North Carolina
Governor -- North Dakota
Governor -- Ohio
Governor -- Oregon
Governor -- Pennsylvania
Governor -- Rhode Island
Governor -- South Carolina
Governor -- Texas
Governor -- Utah
Governor -- Vermont
Governor -- Virginia
Governor -- Washington
Governor -- Wyoming
Governors
Health Care
House
House -- Alabama -- 02
House -- Alabama -- 03
House -- Alabama -- 05
House -- Alaska
House -- Arizona -- 01
House -- Arizona -- 03
House -- Arizona -- 05
House -- Arizona -- 08
House -- Arkansas -- 01
House -- Arkansas -- 02
House -- California -- 04
House -- California -- 12
House -- California -- 26
House -- California -- 32
House -- California -- 50
House -- Colorado -- 02
House -- Colorado -- 04
House -- Connecticut -- 04
House -- Connecticut -- 05
House -- Florida -- 06
House -- Florida -- 08
House -- Florida -- 13
House -- Florida -- 15
House -- Florida -- 16
House -- Florida -- 18
House -- Florida -- 19
House -- Florida -- 21
House -- Florida -- 24
House -- Florida -- 25
House -- Georgia -- 05
House -- Georgia -- 10
House -- Georgia -- 12
House -- Idaho -- 01
House -- Illinois -- 01
House -- Illinois -- 03
House -- Illinois -- 05
House -- Illinois -- 06
House -- Illinois -- 10
House -- Illinois -- 11
House -- Illinois -- 14
House -- Illinois -- 18
House -- Indiana -- 03
House -- Indiana -- 07
House -- Indiana -- 09
House -- Iowa -- 03
House -- Iowa -- 04
House -- Kansas -- 02
House -- Kentucky -- 02
House -- Kentucky -- 03
House -- Louisiana -- 01
House -- Louisiana -- 02
House -- Louisiana -- 04
House -- Louisiana -- 06
House -- Maine -- 01
House -- Maryland -- 01
House -- Maryland -- 04
House -- Massachusetts -- 05
House -- Michigan -- 01
House -- Michigan -- 07
House -- Michigan -- 09
House -- Michigan -- 13
House -- Minnesota -- 01
House -- Minnesota -- 03
House -- Minnesota -- 06
House -- Mississippi -- 01
House -- Mississippi -- 03
House -- Missouri -- 09
House -- Nevada -- 02
House -- Nevada -- 03
House -- New Hampshire -- 01
House -- New Hampshire -- 02
House -- New Jersey -- 03
House -- New Jersey -- 05
House -- New Jersey -- 07
House -- New Mexico -- 01
House -- New Mexico -- 02
House -- New York -- 13
House -- New York -- 15
House -- New York -- 20
House -- New York -- 21
House -- New York -- 23
House -- New York -- 24
House -- New York -- 25
House -- New York -- 26
House -- New York -- 29
House -- North Carolina -- 03
House -- North Carolina -- 08
House -- North Carolina -- 10
House -- North Dakota
House -- Ohio -- 01
House -- Ohio -- 02
House -- Ohio -- 05
House -- Ohio -- 07
House -- Ohio -- 10
House -- Ohio -- 15
House -- Ohio -- 16
House -- Oklahoma -- 05
House -- Oregon -- 05
House -- Pennsylvania -- 03
House -- Pennsylvania -- 04
House -- Pennsylvania -- 06
House -- Pennsylvania -- 10
House -- Pennsylvania -- 11
House -- Pennsylvania -- 12
House -- Pennsylvania -- 15
House -- South Carolina -- 01
House -- South Carolina -- 02
House -- South Carolina -- 05
House -- South Dakota
House -- Tennessee -- 07
House -- Tennessee -- 08
House -- Tennessee -- 09
House -- Texas -- 07
House -- Texas -- 10
House -- Texas -- 14
House -- Texas -- 22
House -- Utah -- 03
House -- Virginia -- 01
House -- Virginia -- 05
House -- Virginia -- 09
House -- Virginia -- 11
House -- Washington -- 08
House -- West Virginia -- 02
House -- Wisconsin -- 08
House -- Wyoming
Inauguration 2009
International
Issues
Judiciary
Local Elections
Media
Miscellaneous
Morning Thoughts
Politics Weekly
Polls
Rankings
Republicans
Senate
Senate -- Alaska
Senate -- Arizona
Senate -- Arkansas
Senate -- California
Senate -- Colorado
Senate -- Connecticut
Senate -- Delaware
Senate -- Florida
Senate -- Georgia
Senate -- Idaho
Senate -- Illinois
Senate -- Indiana
Senate -- Iowa
Senate -- Kansas
Senate -- Kentucky
Senate -- Louisiana
Senate -- Maine
Senate -- Massachusetts
Senate -- Minnesota
Senate -- Mississippi
Senate -- Missouri
Senate -- Montana
Senate -- Nebraska
Senate -- Nevada
Senate -- New Hampshire
Senate -- New Jersey
Senate -- New Mexico
Senate -- New York
Senate -- North Carolina
Senate -- North Dakota
Senate -- Ohio
Senate -- Oklahoma
Senate -- Oregon
Senate -- Pennsylvania
Senate -- South Carolina
Senate -- South Dakota
Senate -- Tennessee
Senate -- Texas
Senate -- Utah
Senate -- Virginia
Senate -- Wisconsin
Senate -- Wyoming
Sports
Supreme Court
WH 08
WH 08 -- Democrats
WH 08 -- Republicans
WH 12
WH 12 -- Republicans
White House

 

« Moran Airs First TV Ad; McAuliffe Responds | Blog Home Page | VA Gov Poll: McAuliffe +11 »

DPC Investigates Electrocution Deaths In Iraq

Pasta or chicken?

As in, what meal would you like on your flight back to the United States?

That's what Eric Peters was told would be his choice if he questioned the shoddy electrical wiring he found in buildings wired by Houston-based KBR, Inc., on bases in Iraq. Peters, licensed as a master electrician in nine states, worked for KBR in Iraq from February to April of this year.

Peters, along with Jim Childs, a former project manager in Iraq for the Army Corps of Engineers, and Charles Smith, the former head of the Army Field Support Command, testified today at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing regarding tens of millions of dollars in government bonus money paid to KBR, a contractor whose faulty work is said to have led to the electrocutions of American soldiers.

"The American people have been outraged, and justifiably so, over the issue of wasteful spending," DPC Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said in his opening remarks. "When our soldiers answered the call to serve our country on the battlefield, they never expected that their lives might be endangered by an electrical contractor that was paid to keep them safe. And they certainly could not have imagined that our government would pay over $83 million in bonuses to the contractor that put their lives in danger."

The most well-known electrocution was that of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, who was electrocuted and died while taking a shower in his room in January 2008. According to Dorgan, the previous occupant of Maseth's room had been shocked "four to five times" from June to October 2007, and that each time KBR claimed to have fixed the problem.

Three months after Maseth's death, KBR was given more than $30 million in "award fees."

Peters testified that about half of the KBR electricians in Iraq "do not understand the basic principles of bonding and grounding," a safety measure. According to the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, "each person deemed to be qualified to do electrical work must clearly understand what bonding and grounding is, why it is necessary and how it must be done."

Childs, a master electrician who oversaw KBR's contract with the government beginning in July 2008, said "the electrical work performed by KBR in Iraq was some of the most hazardous, worst quality work I have ever inspected," and that while working on what was called Task Force SAFE (Safety Actions for Fire and Electricity), "my co-workers and I found improper electrical work in every building we inspected" that had been wired by KBR.

Of the new construction buildings KBR worked on, 90 percent "were not properly wired," Childs said. "This means that over 70,000 buildings in Iraq were not up to code."

After investigating KBR's work from March to May 2008, the Defense Contract Management Agency Report found 26,205 incidents of improper wiring, 5,225 errors with fuses and panel boxes, 2,285 conduit and raceway hazards, 4,571 incidents of outlet box hazards, and 3,201 hazardous switches and boxes.

"So how could it be that, given these obviously widespread problems with KBR's electrical work, the Pentagon decided to give KBR bonuses totaling $83.4 million for such work?" Dorgan asked. "These bonuses are supposed to be awarded for work that is deemed, overall, to range from 'very good' to "excellent.' "

Reached for comment, KBR corporate communications director Heather Browne disputed that the company was paid more than $83 million for work performed in Iraq, but maintained that the federal government had no problem with the company's work.

"Our customer, the US Army, remains satisfied with our work, as evidenced by our award fee board scores that have consistently ranged from good to excellent," Browne said in an e-mail.

"KBR's position remains that it was not responsible for the electrocution deaths that have been publicized. Further, the assertion that KBR has a track record of shoddy electrical work is unfounded. KBR remains proud of the work it performs in Iraq."

Dorgan said that the Pentagon continues to say "there isn't as much of a problem here as people think," and KBR gives a "routine denial."

"We're just trying to follow the facts and find out the truth," said Dorgan.