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News Wrap: $9 Billion for Iraq Rebuilding Missing

July 27, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The U.S. Defense Department cannot account for nearly $9 billion earmarked for rebuilding Iraq. The money came from sales of Iraqi oil that the U.S. was allowed to tap. A special inspector general reported today there’s no way to trace much of the spending. He blamed shoddy record-keeping. The oil funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

A campaign finance bill stalled in the Senate today. Republicans blocked a bid to advance the legislation. They said it would violate free speech rights. Democrats said it was necessary to make interest groups disclose their donors if they run attack ads. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court allowed corporations and unions to give direct support to candidates for federal office.

Wall Street had a muted day, after consumer confidence fell more than expected this month. The Conference Board, a business research group, said the index is now at the lowest point since February. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 12 points to close at 10537. The Nasdaq fell eight points to close at 2288.

Another oil well is leaking in the Gulf of Mexico. A barge struck an abandoned well along the Louisiana coast today. A plume of oil and gas spewed into the air after the accident. A cleanup company dropped protective boom around the site, but a mile-long slick was already in the water. The oil hindered boat traffic, including vessels fighting the big spill far out in the Gulf.

And in Southern Michigan, crews worked to clean more than 800,000 gallons of oil that fouled the Kalamazoo River. It leaked from a pipeline.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.