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Army drops suspension of contractor in criminal probe

The Army reversed the suspension Nov. 15, allowing Camille Chidiac to bid for new federal contracts, including an extension of the propaganda contract in January.

Photo Leonie Industries’ Website

Tom Vanden Brook – (USA Today) – WASHINGTON — December 30, 2012 – The Army has lifted its suspension of the owner of its top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan, despite the Pentagon’s ongoing criminal investigation against him for late tax payments, treatment of his Afghan employees and an online smear campaign he launched against USA TODAY.

The Army had suspended Camille Chidiac, co-owner of Leonie Industries, in May after he admitted to setting up disparaging social media and web sites against two journalists from the newspaper. At the time, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered “appropriate action” taken against Chidiac, according Pentagon press secretary George Little, who called his actions “intolerable.”

The Army reversed the suspension Nov. 15, allowing Chidiac to bid for new federal contracts, including an extension of the propaganda contract in January. The Army, in a statement from spokesman Matthew Bourke, decided that Chidiac should be reinstated because the Army concluded that he conducted the smear campaign on his own time without Leonie’s resources. Chidiac put his ownership stake in a trust in an agreement reached with the Army. That prompted the Army to lift its suspension of Chidiac, according to Bourke.

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Fraud Fight Has U.S. Seeking to Ban Record Number of Suppliers

Wishing the Government Accountability Office and the agencies in charge of oversight, a banner year of suspensions and debarments in 2012.  Here’s hoping the DoJ grows a set in the new year and prosecutes those who have “gotten away with it” for far too long.  Honestly Eric (Holder) you can’t possibly believe the American taxpayer is gullible enough to believe the only criminals making bank in Iraq and Afghanistan are the handful of petty criminals you have indicted to date?
~ Ms Sparky & Forseti

(Money News) – December 27, 2011 – The Obama administration, under pressure from Congress to weed out government suppliers for ethics violations or poor performance, has proposed to ban almost as many contractors this year as President George W. Bush did in his entire second term.

Federal agencies have proposed blocking 1,006 companies and individuals from contracting so far this year, as well as asking a judge to ban a unit of food-processing giant Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis, in a process known as debarment. That is 16 percent more than the 868 contractors that U.S. agencies proposed to block in all of 2010, and only 70 fewer than the 1,076 contractors that U.S. agencies sought to debar under Bush from 2005 to 2008, according to data provided by the General Services Administration.

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POGO Study: Contractors Costing Government Twice as Much as In-House Workforce

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

DANA LIEBELSON – (POGO) – The U.S. government’s increasing reliance on contractors to do work traditionally done by federal employees is fueled by the belief that private industry can deliver services at a lower cost than in-house staff.
But a first-of-its-kind study released today by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) busts that myth by showing that using contractors to perform services actually increases costs to taxpayers.
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CWC Commissioners give award winning performance at Hearing

One day after the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) held a their 20th hearing on wartime contracting. This hearing was entitled  “Ensuring contractor accountability: Past performance and suspensions and debarmements“.  I only wish there was an Academy Honor for the “Best Tough Guy”  on the CWC.  These Commissioners would certainly have my vote.   Perhaps a more appropriate honor would be a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence!  The Commissioners continue to show the country how bipartisan politics should work for the greater good of our country, not for personal petty ass partisan agendas.

Their tough as nails approach and ability to to ferret out the truth amongst the BS some witnesses attempt to baffle the Commission with is truly amazing and keeps the audience riveted.  Yes, I said riveted and when it comes to hearings and the day to day business of our government that is usually not the case. But the Commission accomplishes this with each hearing they conduct.

Yesterday’s hearing was no exception, several witnesses attempted to spend their time testifying about everything but the issues and trying their damnedest not to answer the questions.  I once heard someone describe this type of doublespeak as “spending all day talking about a broom but never getting to the handle.”  Our awarding winning cast on the Commission will have none of it and are quick to call these types to the carpet. These double-talkers are verbally dragged back on point squirming all the way.

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Pentagon goes soft on deficient contractors

DoD scales back plan to restrict payments to some contractors

SEAN REILLY –  December 15, 2010 – Under a barrage of contractor criticism, the Defense Department has softened a plan to hold back contract payments as a way to prod companies to fix problems in their accounting and other business systems.

In a proposed rule released in January, DoD had sought authority to withhold 10 percent of payments if a particular business system was found to be deficient. Under a new proposal published this month in the Federal Register, that amount is cut to 5 percent and for small businesses would be limited to 2 percent. If a deficiency is considered high risk, the maximum that could withheld would be capped at 20 percent, down from 100 percent in the original proposal. And in response to complaints that the original draft was overly subjective, officials spell out compliance criteria more clearly.

In general, the revised proposal does a “much better job of laying out the attributes of each of these business systems” and then linking enforcement to compliance with those attributes, said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade group. While not ready to give the revision a passing grade without more study, “I liked what I saw,” Chvotkin said.

But Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, viewed the new proposal as “a giant step backward” for contractor accountability. And because DoD is issuing a second proposed rule, another year may pass before contracting officers get the authority to withhold payments, said Amey, who had wanted the Pentagon to make its original draft more stringent.   (Click HERE  to read entire article)