Walsh to Iraq: Give us our money back

In light of a government report that Iraq's treasury is bulging due to revenues from high oil prices, Congressman

Jim Walsh today called upon Iraq to return the approximately $48 billion in American taxpayer money that was provided for rebuilding the war-torn country.

"The Iraqi government is amassing billions in oil profits while America is footing the bill to rebuild their country. That's wrong and must stop," Walsh said . "When I last visited Iraq in September 2007, I was candidly told by military officers on the ground that the Iraqi government didn't need any more American money for re-construction - it had plenty."

Last March, Senators John Warner and Carl Levin requested the Government Accountability Office conduct a review of Iraqi finances and oil revenues. Walsh was interested in the results of the review because of first-hand accounts provided to him by U.S. military officials in Iraq.

The GAO estimates Iraqi oil revenue from 2005 through the end of this year will amount to $156 billion, a result of rising oil prices. In addition, the Iraqi government should end the year with an estimated $79

billion surplus, and had large amounts of surplus money sitting idle - some in American banks.

"Coming at a time when Americans are paying $4 per gallon -some of which is Iraqi oil - it's time for Iraq to stand on its own two feet," added Walsh.

Walsh suggested the funds could be used to pay for a second economic stimulus package possibly under consideration by Congress early this fall.

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