In another installment of fact checking last week’s debate, Trump made something of an off hand comment about Hillary Clinton’s State Department losing $6 billion while she was Secretary of State.
“Just like when you ran the State Department, $6 billion was missing. How do you miss $6 billion?” Trump queried. “You ran the State department. $6 billion was either stolen, they don’t know. It’s gone. $6 billion. If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess. Believe me.”
If anyone should know how to lose $6 billion, it’s Donald Trump. Just open a bunch of fancy casinos in Atlantic City, that should do the trick.
In the past month or so Trump has been referring to this $6 billion, a number that seems to stem from an audit of the Office of the Inspector General. That audit found that around $6 billion in contracts had paperwork “were incomplete or could not be located at all,” leading to problems with accounting. This means that signatures and forms are missing, not the $6 billion itself. Politifact summed it up best
, as they usually do saying that “the $6 billion figure refers to the total amount affected by file mismanagement. It’s akin to failing to get a receipt for your $20 lunch. Documentation over where that $20 went is gone, but not the $20 itself.”
The period of the audit was 2004 to 2011, so including five years before Clinton became Secretary of State. Additionally, the State Department is a gigantic bureaucracy, so the head of the department only has so much responsibility for all of that.
So the $6 billion is not “missing or stolen” and the State Department does know what happened to it. They haven’t filed all the paperwork and they’re trying to figure out which ones. That’s what an audit is for.