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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

House Report: IRS Deputy IT Director Steered $500 Million in Contracts to Pal

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform yesterday released  Questionable Acquisitions: Problematic IT Contracting at the IRS (157 pages):

The IRS spends approximately $2 billion every year on information technology (IT) alone. The agency has over 400 dedicated employees who work on IT acquisition. Many vendors compete to do business with the IRS. Considering the large annual IRS investment in IT, any advantage in the contracting process gained by a particular vendor could prove very lucrative. The Committee found that one company—Strong Castle, Inc.—gained precisely such an advantage based on the relationship between the company’s CEO and an IRS contracting official. Strong Castle, Inc. was formerly known as Signet Computers. In January 2012 Braulio Castillo purchased Signet Computers and subsequently renamed the company Strong Castle, Inc. Except for specific references in documents, testimony, and discussion surrounding the purchase of the company, this report will refer to the company as Strong Castle.

The Committee learned of allegations concerning a series of contracts, potentially worth more than $500 million, awarded by the IRS to Strong Castle. Witnesses who contacted the Committee alleged that Strong Castle engaged in fraud to win those IRS contracts. Documents and testimony obtained by the Committee showed that a cozy relationship between Strong Castle President and Chief Executive Officer Braulio Castillo and IRS Deputy Director for IT Acquisition Greg Roseman may have influenced the selection process.

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Comments

The source selection process should have been very well documented, the evaluations performed by the Source Selection Board should have been kept, along with the Conracting Officers decision of why this company was selected. All that needs to be done is to ask the Contracting Officer and the Source Selection Board (just a few people usually) whether the Deputy Direction influenced their decision. However, if there was any attempt at influence, the procurement should have been immeidately stopped, so it's now in the interests of anyone involved with the Selection Board to clam up.
The Contracting Officer, who's usually the Source Selection Authority, is ultimately responsible for assuring a fair acquisition that gets the government the best deal.

Posted by: Brian | Jun 26, 2013 12:54:46 PM