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Congress approves extension of Iraq inspector general

[JURIST] Legislation extending the mandate of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) [official website] passed both houses of the US Congress last week at the end of its current session, and the agency will continue to monitor US spending in Iraq until the fall of 2008 pending President Bush's signature. SIGIR was originally established to independently supervise and investigate operations of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority [official website], and has to date uncovered multiple instances of fraud, bribery, and other legal violations [JURIST reports] by US government officials and government contractors in Iraq.

House Republicans had initially planned to terminate the agency in October 2007 through through HR 5122 [text], transferring its mandate to the State and Defense departments. Democrats in the House introduced new legislation [JURIST report] last month authorizing the agency for an additional year. The measure passed the Senate on Wednesday, and the House approved it by voice vote during its last sitting of the year on Saturday. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) [official website], who will take over as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee [official website] in January, has already suggested that he will expand the scope of SIGIR in the new year. AP has more.

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