Friday, November 27, 2009

Self Certifiction Invites Fraud, Our Congress Learns, - as we pay the tab

Review Finds Fraud in Contracts Awarded in Disabled Veterans’ Program (New York Times)

A program intended to help businesses owned by disabled veterans win 3 % of federal contracts awarded over $100 million in contracts to firms that were either ineligible or committed fraud to obtain the work, an unnecessary GAO review has found:

In one case, a Nevada firm won a $7.5 million contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency even though its majority owner was not a disabled veteran, the review by the Government Accountability Office. ...In two other cases, businesses that won contracts were owned by disabled veterans who were also full-time state government employees, making them ineligible. And in at
least three other cases, companies owned by disabled veterans did little or none of the contracted work, simply passing it on to subcontractors not owned by disabled veterans.

Currently only the Department of Veterans Affairs has a database of firms whose owners are verified to disabled veterans. But that database is used only by Veterans Affairs for its own contracts; other agencies allow small businesses to “self certify” that they are owned and controlled by disabled veterans.

Duhhhh! The report recommends that the disabled vet database be expanded and made available to all federal agencies.

To arrive at such a brilliant conclusion (which in all likelihood will never be adopted anyway),
our congress of mostly elected lawyers pays lawyers (in this case from the GAO) to supervise a grunt or two who actually digs out the findings.

One more thing, they are all paid with taxpayers' money.

How much do you think the study cost, how many GAO lawyers were involved in the study, and why are such answers not always printed on cover pages of all reports financed at taxpayer expense?

If you read this and know answer(s) to above questions, please share.



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