Corruption Ties Greedy Private Corporations to Government Stupidity
Contractors Out of Control
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
Every year, Uncle Sam pays contractors $320 billion to assist with government activities. These contractors purchase or produce everything from computers and highway infrastructure to hand soap and office supplies, making the federal government dependent on their expertise.
Trouble is, while the amount of money private companies receive from the government skyrockets, the number of eyes watching how they spend our money is getting smaller and less effective.
The FBI’s effort to build the Trilogy case-management system is a perfect example. This project has already sucked down $537 million worth of taxpayer dollars, and failed to do anything that will help the FBI enhance its investigative capabilities. This week, the FBI announced it would spend an additional $425 million to finish a different case management system, the “Sentinel.”
A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the lack of oversight turned this project into what could be a new hit television show “Contractors Gone Wild.”
Contractors hired to develop Trilogy spent like drunken sailors because there were no reasonable controls over how the project’s money would be spent. Computer Sciences Corporation, for example, spent $120,000 on 100 first class tickets, most at full fare rates. This despite government rules requiring cheaper tickets.
One invoice, worth $456,211, was paid with little evidence that it was actually related to the Trilogy project at all. “It’s not what we asked for but at this point it doesn’t really matter. Approve it,” one contractor employee wrote to another. The GAO found that another contractor, CACI International, spent $19,705 for 30,000 pens and $32,314 for 30,000 highlighters monogrammed for the Trilogy program.
These contractors are able to get away with behaving badly because the FBI didn’t keep its eyes open to what was happening. The report found that the “reason is that the FBI’s own financial controls do not provide reasonable assurance that payments to contractors for unallowable costs would not be made or detected in the normal course of business.” The GAO also found that the FBI was unable to find 12,000 items valued at $7.6 million, including laptops, printers, and servers related to the Trilogy project. Who knows what secret data might be on those computers?
The FBI’s over reliance on outside contractors reduced its ability to track funds related to the Trilogy program. Contractors maintained records related to the purchasing, warehousing, and installation of about 62 percent of the project’s equipment. This is the perfect example of the fox guarding the henhouse.
All of this comes at a time when we’ve just learned that the FBI can only "afford" email addresses for 22,000 of its 30,000 employees. While contractors are off spending millions on fancy pens and over-billing the FBI for labor, overtime, and travel costs, 8,000 agents cannot even send an email through FBI systems. And yet, despite half a billion dollars of waste on the Trilogy system, the FBI hasn’t really learned anything about how to stop this failure and waste. Until the FBI explains what assurances it put in place to ensure the taxpayers don’t get fleeced this time around, it appears that history will repeat itself with the Sentinel project and taxpayers’ $425 million.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110 or email@example.com -- TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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