The Corpus Callosum


It has been a party, sure enough; more like an exercise in
Bacchinalian debauchery.  

href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201653.html?hpid=topnews">Changes
Spurred Buying, Abuses

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Scott Higham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 23, 2007; Page A01

…Congress
created the GSA’s buying program in 1949 to make it easier for the
burgeoning federal bureaucracy to buy furniture, office supplies and
other products. The government sought to leverage its position as the
world’s leading buyer to get the lowest prices…

…In the 1990s, lawmakers and contractors argued that the system was
too cumbersome and the products and services too limited. Congress
began streamlining and expanding the GSA’s contracting programs. But
the GSA’s inspector general warned that the proposals would weaken
oversight…

One
proposal, to cut back on contract audits, “would strip the government
of one of the most important tools” for detecting overpricing and
“would hand contractors ‘carte blanche’ to violate contract terms,” the
inspector general wrote…

…Over
the next 10 years, information technology spending through the agency
increased tenfold, to more than $17 billion. The number of GSA
officials keeping watch over increasingly complex contracts remained
relatively flat, however, and audits plummeted…


The article points out that the new arrangement allows the GSA to keep
a percentage of every sale.  This resulted in a cozy
relationship between buyer and seller.  The authors go on to
describe specific instances of massive overcharging and lax oversight.
 

GSA
officials declined to comment for this article.


Gee, I wonder why that is?

“This
has been a scandal of great proportions,” said David E. Cooper, until
recently the director of acquisition and sourcing management at the
Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress.
“Our work and the work by the Defense Department inspector general and
the GSA inspector general all show hundreds of millions, if not
billions, that has been wasted.”


This is sheer madness.  I cannot believe that the American
People put up with this.