According to the Inspector General for the General Services Administration, managers at the GSA helped their friends in the private sector get lucrative contracts. The stunning report shows that GSA managers routinely overruled contracting officers on certain accounts, including Carahsoft and two large IT contracts with Deloitte and Oracle. The contracts amounted to $900 million in 2011 alone. The IG found, according to the Federal Times, that “After GSA managers intervened in contracting officer decisions, the result was higher-than-appropriate prices for federal customers and a demoralized acquisition staff for GSA.”
The Carahsoft deal created “inflated pricing.” The Deloitte contract increased labor rates. The Oracle contract was extended six months beyond its expiration despite the fact that its labor rates were “extremely high.”
IG Brian Miller stated, “Contracting officers need an environment in which they are free to make judgments, conclusions and findings without undue influence. Independence of contracting officers is crucial to the integrity of the procurement process.”
One of the whistleblowers from within the GSA told the IG, “The pressure is coming from my boss who has told me he doesn’t want Carahsoft to call their congressman … They have already called their congressman before so … my division director said if we don’t work with them (which means bend the rules that we have in place and make other vendors follow) that they will call the congressman, and he doesn’t want that. I just feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
The report did not find actual graft or bribery, but some speculate that GSA officers may be featherbedding for a possible post-government job at some of the favored firms. The report concluded that the GSA’s activities were “not in the best interests of the United States,” and that they “undermined the integrity of the procurement process.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).