The U.S. State Department spent more than a half million dollars on a course teaching its employees how to testify before Congress, just as House investigations into the Benghazi scandal were taking shape.
The Department spent $545,000 in taxpayer money on a contractor to set up a course called “Communicating with Congress: Briefing and Testifying,” according to the new e-book “Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways The Government Dropped The Ball” by U.S. Sen. James Lankford, which was released Monday.
The two-day class, which actually simulated congressional testimony in order to better prep Department bureaucrats on how to skillfully answer questions under oath, was set up in the immediate weeks following the creation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in May 2014.
“Congress should use its oversight responsibilities to guide federal agencies (not contractors) to handle training or other internal matters that could be undertaken by staff already on the federal payroll,” Sen. Lankford wrote in his book. “Another idea is to tell all State Department staff to just honor any mom’s advice, ‘When in doubt, tell the truth.'”
The State Department posted an ad on fedbiz looking for the perfect contractor to direct the class.
“Lastly, contractor shall submit additional proposals to deliver hour-long, one-on-one simulated congressional hearing sessions with feedback for individuals as preparation for anticipated congressional testimony,” according to the ad.
“We will offer this course between three to four times per year. There is a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 participants per class.”
The president of AMTIS Inc., the Florida-based company that ended up winning the contract to run the course, was unable to immediately comment for this article.