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F is for “Fraud or Federal Contracts”

de·fense con·trac·tor

[dih-fens or, especially for 7, 9, dee-fens] [kon-trak-ter, kuhn-trak-ter]
noun, verb
A company who contracts with the Department of Defense to furnish supplies or perform work at a certain price or rate.
fraud, thief, malefactor, evildoer, transgressor, culprit, pander, felon, crook, hoodlum, gangster
altruist, licit, honest, accountable, virtue, honor, integrity

Here are two great articles on Defense Contracting:

No Joking: Senator Franken Tough on Fraud
Scott Amey – POGO – January 27, 2011 – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee tackled contractor accountability in a hearing entitled “TIME CHANGE — Protecting American Taxpayers: Significant Accomplishments and Ongoing Challenges in the Fight Against Fraud.” Fighting fraud in government contracts is becoming a hot topic and one that can be a win-win for agencies, politicians, and taxpayers.

During the hearing, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) pressed Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Criminal Division, on issues related to holding contractors to a high standard, investigating fraud, awarding contracts to companies that have committed fraud against the federal government, and the suspension and debarment system. He went on to mention and cite POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.

Mr. Breuer described the differences between the work performed by DOJ and suspension and debarment offices, and stated “I agree with your premise that if you commit a fraud against the United States you shouldn’t have a right to continue doing business.” He also stated that he has three prosecutors in Iraq and Afghanistan (but I’m not sure if three prosecutors is enough). (Click HERE for article)

If A Dollar Falls in The Pentagon…
Colin Clark  – January 26th, 2011 – One of the more ingenious arguments against Defense Secretary Robert Gates program cuts and efficiencies was raised today after the  House Armed Services Committee hearing. It went something like that old philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest but there is no one there to hear it, is there a noise?”

For years, Pentagon officials have admitted that they really don’t know where their money is going because their financial systems just aren’t good enough to be audited with any hope of retuning results in which one might have a high degree of confidence.

So Rep.  Randy Forbes, chairman of the HASC readiness subcommittee took the interesting leap of arguing that, since the Pentagon doesn’t really know where it’s money is being spent, then maybe it shouldn’t try to talk about efficiencies.

“If the Department of Defense does not know where our defense dollars are going, how then are they qualified to talk about efficiencies? Furthermore, if the Department of Defense does not even have mechanisms in place to perform the audits, how are they able to comply with the law? Finally, if all agencies are required to perform regular audits, how is the Department of Defense able to skirt this compliance? If we want to get serious about efficiencies, we need to first make it clear that the Department of Defense is not above the law, and, second, demand to know where our defense dollars are going,” he said in a statement after this morning’s hearing. (Click HERE for article)