DOD says Stripes’ handling of ASY funds did not break law

By JEFF SCHOGOL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 21, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. — Stars and Stripes and its former parent organization, American Forces Information Service, did not break the law in how they handled money for the America Supports You program, a Defense Department spokesman said Wednesday.

In December, the Defense Department Office of the Inspector General found that defense officials "inappropriately" transferred $9.2 million to Stripes for America Supports You, and that the newspaper used some of that money for its own needs.

That prompted Washington Headquarters Services to launch a preliminary investigation earlier this year into whether Stripes or AFIS violated the Antideficiency Act, which prevents government agencies from spending money in ways not authorized by Congress.

WHS determined there were no violations of the act, said Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman.

Stripes publisher Max Lederer declined to comment by deadline Wednesday.

Former Stripes publisher Tom Kelsch said he was pleased that WHS determined there was no wrongdoing.

"I have been confident that my people did not do anything wrong from the beginning, and I’m happy that WHS has reached that conclusion," he said.

WHS is the administrative management and human resources branch of the Pentagon.

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