Crony Capitalism: Army General Used Position To Benefit Friends

June 23, 2015—A top US general is seeing his star lose its spark as he battles crony capitalism accusations.

Earlier this year, a key Army commander in charge of of heading operations in the Middle East as well as training Iraqi military forces was reprimanded by the Pentagon.

Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard was recalled after a three-year investigation into renewable energy contracts that had been steered to the hands of his West Point classmates. The investigation was launched after a whistleblower claimed the general had “abused his authority.” The incident reportedly took place while the US general was the commander of Fort Bliss in Texas.

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The Army commander was a key official in the US war against the Islamic State and is still identified as the ‘Deputy Commanding General’ of operations on the army’s official website.

In a statement issued to the media, Pittard claimed he took the opportunity to move quickly on the energy project by doing what he did. With that, Pittard claimed, “I invited a measure of risk,” an action that may cost him his rank. A spokesperson for the Army said the cronyism accusations “called into question his suitability for continued service and resulted in his request for retirement, effectively ending his career in the Army.”

No report on further punitive actions has been released.

According to the Washington Post report, Pittard is the latest high-ranking officer to be reprimanded for misconduct.

“The U.S. military has been tarred by a series of ethical breaches committed by generals and admirals in recent years. Although Pentagon officials have vowed to crack down, the armed forces often seek to keep such cases out of the limelight to protect the reputations of their top brass.”

In the past, Army Brig. Gen. Sean P. Mulholland’s retirement was associated with “health and personal reasons,” but official documents showed he left after being disciplined for becoming intoxicated in public and getting into altercations. Other cases involving Navy admirals have also been linked to corruption and bribery in the past.

Should officers like Pittard suffer more than just a public rebuke when they make mistakes while being paid with taxpayer dollars? Share your comments below. 

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