10/29/2009

Despite promises Stimulus contracts going to organizations who were egregious offenders of state and federal laws

From the Washington Post

President Obama and members of Congress told federal agencies earlier this year to avoid awarding funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to contractors with troubled histories of work for the federal government.

But that isn't happening at numerous agencies, a Washington Post analysis shows. So far, 33 federal departments and agencies have awarded more than $1.2 billion in stimulus contracts to at least 30 companies that are ranked by one watchdog group as among the most egregious offenders of state and federal laws.

Government records show that as a group, these contractors have sold defective products, manufactured safety tests, submitted false travel claims and padded contracts with fraudulent fees.

"Even a simple Google search could raise red flags about some contractors' performance," said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Honeywell International, for example, is defending itself against a Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of selling defective shields for bulletproof vests to the Defense and Homeland Security departments, costing the federal government tens of millions of dollars. But that did not prevent the company from winning $2.9 million in stimulus contracts from the Air Force.

On a larger scale, UT-Battelle, a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, has been awarded 43 Recovery Act contracts worth more than $331 million by the Department of Energy for work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In every instance, competitive bidding rules were waived, but officials said the contracts were largely extensions of competitively bid work that was already underway at the site. . . . .

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