The recent audit of America Supports You (ASY) found that the Defense Department PR program was run in a "questionable and unregulated manner," including some $8.8 million given to the public relations firm Susan Davis International (SDI). Now, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for further investigation and "accountability" for the ASY "fiasco." In a letter (pdf) to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McCaskill wrote, "It is my strong opinion that SDI should be made to reimburse the government. ... It is clear to me that there are grounds for official discipline of senior and less-senior [Pentagon] officials." McCaskill also requested "a full review" of ASY, "to determine its utility." Former ASY head Allison Barber defended the program as having helped "thousands of troops." SDI's Tom Davis called the audit's claims against his PR firm "unfounded." Millions in ASY funding were funneled through the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. The paper reports that "no decision has been made whether to launch a preliminary investigation into how Stripes and its former parent organization -- Armed Forces Information Service -- handled" ASY funds. The Stars and Stripes ombudsman has concluded that the improper routing of ASY funds didn't impact the paper's reporting.
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