November 15. 2012 9:28PM

Sen. Ayotte praised for helping keep taxpayer money from the Taliban

WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the nominee to be the next commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, praised legislation U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., helped write that aims to keep U.S. taxpayer dollars from flowing to enemy hands in Afghanistan, Ayotte's office said.

According to an Ayotte news release, key provisions of the "No Contracting with the Enemy" measure, which Ayotte introduced with Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., were included in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law last December.

During Thursday's hearing, Ayotte asked Dunford to provide an update on whether the legislation has been effective in Afghanistan, according to the Ayotte statement.

Ayotte's office said Dunford responded: "First, thank you for your assistance in passing that as part of the NDAA last year. In fact, General Mattis at the U.S. Central Command has used that authority a great deal over the past year. In fact, I understand, at least $12 million that might have otherwise gone into the hands of the Taliban did not go into the hands of the Taliban because he had the authority to cancel those contracts.

"I also believe that over the past year that they have changed the organizational construct to provide better oversight to contracts and ensure that the money that the coalition provides achieves the effect desired in terms of growing the capacity of the Afghans."

Ayotte said: "The bill I helped write gave Pentagon contractors the flexibility they need to stop taxpayer money from falling into enemy hands. It was one of the first pieces of legislation I worked on in the Senate, and I'm pleased that it's making a difference."