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Booz News: Top Contractor Booz Allen Making Headlines for the Wrong Reasons

Scott Amey – (POGO) – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency responsible for protecting investors and economic markets, has awarded millions of dollars to top 100 federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for management support services. According to Reuters, some lawmakers and SEC insiders are questioning the fiscal wisdom of the SEC’s decision.

“If they’re not careful, agencies can spend billions of taxpayer dollars on outside studies and contractors and have nothing to show for it,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) told Reuters, adding that “The SEC appears to be headed down this path in hiring a consultant to implement another consultant’s work.”

As Reuters reports, Booz Allen consultants are costing the SEC anywhere from $100 an hour to over $300 an hour and are being paid an average of $140 per hour as compared to $93 per hour for SEC staff. That’s a differential of over 50 percent, which over a year is a cost premium of nearly $100,000 to have Booz perform those jobs.

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U.S. Navy employee (ret) Gregory Penk pleads guilty to providing bid tips to contractor Booz Allen Hamilton

St. Mary’s County Former Navy Employee Pleads Guilty to Disclosing Contractor Bid Information

Penk’s plea agreement states that from 1969 until last July, he worked for the Navy in St. Inigoes, and in 2001 became a division director for an identification systems division. In June 2010, the plea agreement states, the Navy solicited bids for a new Naval Air Warfare Center-Aircraft Division contract for services that previously had been provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, which was one of the companies submitting bids on the new contract.~ John Wharton, SoMdNews

Unlawfully Provided Competitive Bid Information for a New Naval Air Warfare Contract
(DoJ) – Greenbelt, Maryland – March 7, 2012 – Retired U.S. Navy employee Gregory Roger Penk, age 64, of Patuxent River, Maryland, pleaded guilty late yesterday to unlawfully disclosing procurement contractor bid and source selection information.

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Grounds for debarment or too big to fail?

Suspend a Big Government Contractor. “Too big to fail” is a term thrown around the financial world quite a bit these days, but apparently it applies to the government contracting industry as well. As it stands right now, there are large contractors that would never make it on the suspended or debarred list, simply because they do so much business with the government. There are a few examples of large contractors being suspended for a short period of time, but never anything that leaves a mark. If this administration really wants to make a stand on contracting ethics, it would give a serious suspension to a large contractor that commits a violation to show that no company is above the law. ~Government Contractors Gaming The System, Ethisphere

POGO has recently posted  two articles with more details on the latest procurement fraud scandal to hit the defense contracting industry, this time it is Booz Allen Hamilton on the hot-seat.  Before you click on those links, let’s take a trip back in time to February 2009.

Almost three years ago to the day of the Booz Allen incident another similar incident came to light which resulted in a mere slap on the wrist for the offending contractor and their program manager, who also happened to be a retired military officer.
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Contracting Time Out for Booz Allen Hamilton

NEIL GORDON – (POGO) – February 8, 2012 – The Air Force has just suspended from federal contracting a unit of global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and recommended it for debarment. The notice was posted in the Excluded Parties List System on Monday.

The EPLS record cites the action as a proposed debarment pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) section 9.406-2, which outlines the various causes for debarment: conviction of or civil judgment for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with a contract; violation of federal or state antitrust laws relating to the submission of offers; commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, tax evasion, violating federal criminal tax laws, or receiving stolen property; commission of any offense indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty; or serious violations of the terms of a federal contract or subcontract.

In a statement to Federal News Radio, Booz Allen said the Air Force’s action “relates specifically and solely to the San Antonio office and individually to two current and three former employees based there.” The EPLS notice indicates that the proposed debarment includes four individuals. According to the company, the incident “involved a former government employee who we hired who inappropriately retained and provided government procurement-sensitive information.”

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Neil Gordon: Two Former Watchdogs Ring in the New Year on the Other Side of the Revolving Door

NEIL GORDON – (POGO) – January 5, 2011 – Welcome to another episode of “As the Washington Revolving Door Turns.” The two latest ex-government officials to land jobs with private companies formerly served as very high-profile watchdogs of those companies.

The first revolver is Michael Thibault, former co-chairman and commissioner of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (CWC). The CWC released its final report in August and officially sunset a month later—with all of its internal records sealed from public view until 2031, unfortunately. Last month, Thibault joined DynCorp International as its vice president of government finance and compliance. Thibault worked for many years at the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), serving as Deputy Director from 1994 until 2005. Between his government postings at the DCAA and CWC, Thibault briefly worked for federal contractors Navigant Consulting and Unisys.

DynCorp, one of the three primary LOGCAP IV contractors, is currently the 32nd largest contractor in POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. It has nine instances of misconduct since the early 2000s and $19.6 million in penalties. Readers of POGO’s blog are probably familiar with some of DynCorp’s checkered history, as are those who saw the 2010 movie “The Whistleblower”, which was based on the harrowing experiences of former DynCorp employee Kathryn Bolkovac.