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Waxman: ‘More dollars, less sense’ in Bush procurement spending

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During the administration of President Bush, federal procurement spending has reached unprecedented levels, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

In a study titled “More Dollars, Less Sense” released today, Rep. Henry Waxman said more than half the such spending went to contracts not subject to full and open competition, according to Hill News. (See full report as PDF.) Says the News:

For the first time, 40 cents of every discretionary dollar spent by the federal government has gone to a contract with a private company.


The report reaches these conclusions:

Procurement Spending Is Accelerating Rapidly. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending rose by 86% to $377.5 billion annually. Spending on federal contracts grew over twice as fast as other discretionary federal spending. …

Contract Mismanagement Is Widespread. The growth in federal contracts has been accompanied by pervasive mismanagement. Mistakes have been made in virtually every step of the contracting process: from pre-contract planning through contract award and oversight to recovery of contract overcharges.

The Costs to the Taxpayer Are Enormous. The report identifies 118 federal contracts worth $745.5 billion that have been found by government officials to include significant waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. Each of the Bush Administration’s three signature initiatives — homeland security, the war and reconstruction in Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina recovery — has been characterized by wasteful contract spending.

Lurita Alexis Doan, the head of the General Services Administration, the federal agency tasked with making sure procurement tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently, has even tried to privatize the auditing of government contracts. According to The Washington Post, Ms. Doan “proposed cutting $5 million in spending on audits and shifting some responsibility for contract reviews to small, private audit contractors.” She even compared her inspector general to terrorists for not heeding her attempts to streamline the agency’s contracting process.

Says The Post:

Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove’s political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates. With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 [2007] of polling data about the 2006 elections. When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could “help ‘our candidates’ in the next elections,” according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

That’s a violation of the Hatch Act, which bars certain political activity by government officials. Ms. Doan is a Bush political appointee. Federal Election Commission records show that she has donated $105,400 to Republican candidates, causes and committees.

I suppose I should attach some snark here, but the facts seem to do it for me. It’s appalling, but hardly surprising.

xpost: Scholars & Rogues and 5th Estate

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 27, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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