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In what Washington watchdog Judicial Watch calls a “fleecing of American taxpayers,” a contract to recruit Border Patrol officers has been uncovered that includes payments so far of some $43 million.

For that, the contractor has “managed to enlist 15.”

“No joke,” Judicial Watch said Thursday, citing a report from the govexec.com website.

“A year ago, the Trump administration contracted with the Arlington, Virginia-based firm Accenture Federal Service to recruit 7,500 new agents to help fortify the famously porous border,” Judicial Watch said. “A year later, and millions of dollars later – the company has fallen shamelessly short of fulfilling the terms of the deal.”

“So far, the agency has doled out $43 million and the cash will keep flowing until it reaches the contract’s nearly $300 million limit unless the government terminates the agreement.

“Apparently, 33 additional candidates have accepted job offers but they haven’t officially started working for the agency,” Judicial Watch said.

The “embarrassing figures” come from the CBP itself, which reported at the govexec site on the progress.

The contract dates to late 2017 when Accenture was tasked with bringing in 5,000 Border Patrol agents, 2,000 CBP officers, and 500 air and marine officers.

“Those who bother doing the math will discover that under the deal it will cost Uncle Sam around $40,000 for each new hire, a figure that’s roughly equal to a Border Patrol agent’s starting annual salary.”

Citing unnamed sources, Judicial Watch said Accenture has 3,700 additional candidates “in the hiring process.”

But another CBP source, Judicial Watch said, “trashed the Accenture deal, saying the following in the story: ‘This really has been a huge waste of money since Accenture received a large up-front amount, regardless of if they hired anyone.'”

Members of Congress also have pointed out that the Border Patrol will still have to pay for medical exams, fitness tests, background tests and more.

Judicial Watch said CBP long has been “plagued with corruption and many worry a hiring frenzy could make things worse because the agency will lower standards to meet President Donald Trump’s executive order mandating thousands of new border agents.”

“In the last two years, more than 3,000 CBP employees were disciplined, reprimanded, suspended, or terminated, according to agency records. In 2016, 251 CBP employees were arrested, the records show, and in 2017, the agency reveals that 245 were arrested.”

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