Today House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman put to rest recent reports that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan may have been acting in good faith when she steered a $20,000 contract to an old friend. According to a release from Waxman's office, "Ms. Fraser used her professional connections to advance Doan's nomination to GSA and to provide personal favors, and that Ms. Fraser continued to provide services with the expectation of payment to Ms. Doan after she became GSA Administrator."
Who was responsible for oversight before Henry Waxman (D-CA) took over? Tom Davis (R-VA)
There are more installments in the series from Robert O'Harrow and Scott Higham. According to this story, at GSA, where Tom Davis forced out Angela Styles for friend and felon David Safarian, Lurita Doan took over. Doan was a very friendly donor to Davis when he was RNCC Chair; the Doan family gave $153,215 to Republicans and over $40,000 to Davis's RNCC when he was Chair. At GSA, for the second time in her federal career, Doan illegally bypassed her own staff to provide a no-bid contract to a friend.
Although the Post states that three Committee members signed a letter asking for an explanation of the fraud, they don't dare embarrass Tom Davis by saying Davis, then Committee Chair, was not bothered enough by the stink to be one of the signers. The letter asking for an explanation was signed by minority Committee members Waxman, Holmes-Norton, and Obserstar.
On her way out of GSA, Styles had said "There is still not a lot of oversight in some areas of our contracting system, and I think it will haunt us." Done.
Doan and GSA are worse than even I thought! Waxman's index to the matter is here.
Further investigation by the committee uncovered more problems, which it intends to inspect.
In his letter, Waxman described a nationwide teleconference that took place Jan. 26 at GSA headquarters convened to figure out ways to help Republican political candidates. According to his letter, Doan held the meeting with senior staff and about 40 GSA political appointees to hear from J. Scott Jennings, special assistant to the president and deputy director of political affairs at the White House, and John Horton, GSA's White House liaison, about national polling data from the November 2006 midterm elections. During the teleconference, some participants suggested blocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from attending the opening of an environmentally efficient courthouse in San Francisco, according to the letter.
Doan also wanted to get Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), chairman of the Republican National Committee, to attend a courthouse opening in Florida, according to Waxman.
Doan has been in trouble before when she tried to eliminate in house audits and steer them to sympathetic friends:
Doan included the Office of the Inspector General in her request for budget cuts. She also asked the IG's office to cut back on the number of pre-award audits it performs. But Doan angered lawmakers when she announced that she intended to transfer those audit responsibilities to small, private-sector auditing firms because she wanted them to have a larger piece of the federal contracting pie. Angry lawmakers promptly sent letters asking her to leave the system alone.
As for Doan, this whole thing "broke" after Davis had already given up the helm of the committee. nobody had a hint of any wrongdoing when he was there. and this isn't even wrongdoing - the contract was voided and she admitted to faulty judgment. but keep on pressing forward and writing. i just think you've lost all credibility at this point.
"Given up the helm." That's a good one, too. I hear he begged Waxman to take over so he could rest. Signing the Terri Schiavo subpeona wore him out.
Walter Reed "broke" in 2004. Davis was busy stealing elections then, and couldn't be bothered to check into the government contractors he fleeced for contributions.
Tom Davis proved he was more concerned about keeping his power and influence with the Republican leadership and the administration than he was in providing good governmental oversight, which was supposed to be his job.
Indeed, this growing scandal is just the tip of the iceberg with government contracts. It's turning out that a lot of the problems at Walter Reed may have been exacerbated by work being turned over to a private contractor, who cut staff levels and still charged more than it would have cost the government to do the work itself. And that same company had already messed up in their cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
The IRS also recently moved to hire private debt collectors to take over collection of back taxes even though, once again, competitive studies required under the FAIR Act showed that the same work could be done more cheaply by the government employees they will replace. And let's not even go into issues about citizens' privacy if private debt collectors are doing this job.
This is going to turn out to be the most corrupt administration since Warren Harding.