According to a recent report by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), $6 billion worth of contracting money paid out by the department over the past six years cannot be accounted for.

The revelation calls into question the management of the State Department across the tenures of both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. American taxpayers should be asking some questions about government accountability in light of the recent revelations.

The OIG issued the “management alert” to draw attention to problems that had been identified in earlier investigations and that remained unaddressed. According to the alert:

OIG has identified Department of State…contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all. The failure to maintain contract files adequately creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.

At issue is the State Department’s failure to adequately oversee and monitor the contractors hired by the department and the disturbing number of files on specific contracts with missing or incomplete paperwork. The report notes the cost of the failure to keep accurate contracting records:

It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file.

Losing track of money equal to more than 10 percent of the State Department’s fiscal year 2013 budget is entirely unacceptable. Something has gone very wrong at the State Department over the past six years. The American people deserve better. Congress and the Administration should do what they can to ensure, as the OIG recommends, that the State Department implements processes to account for expenditures and hold individuals accountable for the missing $6 billion.