Today House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman put to rest recent reports that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan may have been acting in good faith when she steered a $20,000 contract to an old friend. According to a release from Waxman’s office, "Ms. Fraser used her professional connections to advance Doan’s nomination to GSA and to provide personal favors, and that Ms. Fraser continued to provide services with the expectation of payment to Ms. Doan after she became GSA Administrator.” Kudos to Washington Post reporters Robert O’Harrow and Scott Higham for first exposing the Doan scandal.
Besides being caught with her hand in the cookie jar, Doan apparently urged her staff at GSA “to find opportunities to help Republican political candidates.” That has been referred to the GSA Inspector General and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for investigation under the Hatch Act which prohibits government resources from being used to advance political agendas. There is no love lost between the Inspector General (IG) and Doan, who recently attempted cutting the IG’s budget, comparing their work to “terrorism.” Don’t expect much from the Office of Special Counsel which has a reputation for protecting Administration appointees and is under investigation itself for cronyism.
As if that wasn’t enough, Doan intervened to help Sun Microsystems overcome a dispute with GSA and the “federal taxpayers could pay millions more for the IT services provided by Sun Microsystems.”
With all kinds of things to interfere with, when does Doan have time in the day to do her job of running the government’s largest buying agency?
It turns out that putting a contractor in charge of the government’s buying arm might not have been a good idea after all. Lurita Doan personifies a breed of political appointee who treats the federal government like their personal ATM machine.
-- Beth Daley