Tag Archives: Inspector General

Who killed King Joffrey? And what about the State Dept’s “missing” $6 billion?

– Domani Spero

We recently posted about that $6 Billion Alert. What Does The Spox Say? Goring-ding-ding-ding … “Grossly Inaccurate” But …. On April 3, WaPo went with State Department inspector general issues alert over $6 billion in contracting money.  On April 4, TheBlaze.com reported that The State Department Has Lost Track of More Than $6Billion. On April 4, Washington Free Beacon has State Department Misplaced $6B Under Hillary Clinton. On April 6, Fox News (blog) screamed $6 Billion Went Missing From Hillary Clinton’s State Department …. Also on April 6, the Examiner.com - ‎reported State Department $6 billion missing: ‘Creates conditions conducive to fraud’.  On April 8, ABC News (blog) added a twist with Blackwater Named in State Department Probe, Spent $$ on Pricey  On April 9, AllGov has State Dept. Can’t Locate Files for $6 Billion Worth of Contracts. Russia’s RIA Navosti found itself an expert and ran with $6 Bln Vanished from US State Department Due to Corruption – Expert.

Finally ….

 

 

On April 13, ten days after WaPo first reported the $6 billion contracts and just when we could not stop talking about ‘The Lion And The Rose’ episode of ‘Game Of Thrones‘, State/OIG’s Steve Linick wrote to the editors of WaPo “about the State Department’s “missing” $6 billion:

WaPo, Sunday, April 13

The April 3 news article “State Department’s IG issues rare alert” reported on the management alert issued recently by my office. In the alert, we identified State Department contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located. The Post stated, “The State Department’s inspector general has warned the department that $6 billion in contracting money over the past six years cannot be properly accounted for . . . . ”

Some have concluded based on this that $6 billion is missing. The alert, however, did not draw that conclusion. Instead, it found that the failure to adequately maintain contract files — documents necessary to ensure the full accounting of U.S. tax dollars — “creates significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.”

Steve Linick, Washington

The writer is inspector general for the U.S. Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors.

 

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Filed under Contractors, Counting Beans, Follow the Money, Govt Reports/Documents, Huh? News, Leadership and Management, State Department

State/OIG Employees Received CIGIE Awards for Exceptional Performance

– Domani Spero

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s (CIGIE) 16th Annual Inspector General Community awards were presented in Washington, DC, at the Constitution Center Auditorium on November 15, 2013. We’ve seen this news from last year, but we were waiting for a photo to put up with it; one was recently made available online:

Photo via state.gov/oig

Anna Gershman, Assistant IG/Investigations, accepts the award on behalf of Karen Pacheco from CIGIE Chair Phyllis Fong (right) and Lynne McFarland, Vice Chair (left). Photo via state.gov/oig

The following Department of State OIG employees received CIGIE awards for their exceptional work and performance:

In recognition of exceptional work in conducting an audit of the Worldwide Protective Services Contract for Baghdad Movement Security that contributed to improved efficiency and contract management and identified about $362 million in cost savings. (see audit report here).

    • Yvonne Athanasaw, Office of Audits
    • Amy Lowenstein, Office of Audits
    • Kelly Moon, Office of Audits
    • Jim Pollard, Office of Audits
    • Lloyd Taylor, Office of Audits

In recognition of exceptional performance in establishing a highly effective Suspension and Debarment Program within the OIG and the Department of State, which resulted in successfully safeguarding U.S. Government interests.

    • Karin Pacheco, Office of Investigations

 

Congratulations!

A few years ago, Senator Clair McCaskill complained about the State Department’s poor record of contractor debarment: “The State Department is the second largest Department responsible for contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan behind the Department of Defense. During a four year period, from 2005 through 2008, the State Department awarded contracts to 89,593 companies and debarred only one company. In 2005, 2006 and 2008, the State Department did not debar a single company or individual” (see pdf).

In 2012, Federal Times reported that contractor suspensions (banning a company from receiving new contracts for up to 18 months), at the State Department increased from none in 2009 to 19 halfway into fiscal 2012.  At USAID, which apparently scarcely used suspension and debarment in the past, took 63 suspension or debarment actions in 2011.

This is a positive development. The next step is for the list of suspended and debarred contractors to be made publicly available online.

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Filed under Awards, State Department, USAID

Officially In: Michael G. Carroll – From Deputy IG to USAID/OIG

◉ By Domani Spero

On June 20, 2013, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael G. Carroll as the next Inspector General for the United States Agency for International Development. The WH released the following brief bio:

Usaid logo

Usaid logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michael G. Carroll is Deputy Inspector General at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a position he has held since May 2012.  From October 2011 to May 2012, he was Acting Inspector General at USAID.  From 2006 to 2011, he was Deputy Inspector General, and from 2000 to 2004, he was the Assistant Inspector General for Management at USAID.  Mr. Carroll was the Director of Administration at the Bureau of Industry and Security at the Department of Commerce from 2004 to 2006.  Previously, he was Deputy Executive Director at the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board from 1995 to 2000.  Prior to that, Mr. Carroll served at the U.S. Information Agency as the Director of Administrative Services from 1992 to 1995, Director of Operations for the Agency’s Exhibits Service from 1987 to 1992, and as a Logistics Manager at its Office of Administration from 1984 to 1987.  Mr. Carroll also worked for the U.S. Coast Guard from 1982 to 1984.

Mr. Carroll received a B.A. from St. John’s University.

If confirmed, Mr. Carroll would succeed Donald Gambatesa and would be USAID’s senate confirmed IG for the first time in 634 days.

 👀

Related item:

June 10, 2013 President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Foreign Assistance, Nominations, Obama, Officially In, USAID

After 1,989 Day-Vacancy — President Obama Nominates Steve Linick as State Dept Inspector General

– By Domani Spero

President Obama nominated Steve A. Linick as State Department Inspector General today filling a 1,989-day vacancy. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the nomination today of a full-time Inspector General at the U.S. State Department is long overdue.

“A full time, independent watchdog at the State Department is essential to protect the interest of taxpayers. While this nomination is long overdue, I appreciate the president responding to the concerns that I’ve expressed to him and Secretary Kerry regarding this vacancy, and I look forward to getting to know the nominee as our committee considers his fitness for this important position,” said Corker.

 

Steve A. Linick is currently the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Below is his official bio posted on the FHFA website:

Steve A. Linick has led the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) since his U.S. Senate confirmation in 2010. As Inspector General, Mr. Linick is the senior official responsible for audits, evaluations, investigations, and other law enforcement efforts to combat fraud, waste, and abuse within or affecting the programs and operations of FHFA. FHFA-OIG’s oversight includes FHFA’s regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. Mr. Linick heads an independent organization of more than 100 professionals who are dedicated to promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in all FHFA programs.

Mr. Linick has also spearheaded an initiative among Federal inspectors general who play significant roles in supporting U.S. housing. In November 2011, this initiative resulted in the Compendium of Federal Single Family Mortgage Programs and Related Activities, which is a guide to Federal agencies’ major housing efforts. In addition, Mr. Linick is a member of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Taskforce; the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), Investigations Committee, where he serves as the Vice-Chair of the committee’s Suspension and Debarment Working Group; and a permanent member of the Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight.

Mr. Linick is trained as a lawyer, and prior to his appointment as Inspector General, he served in several leadership positions in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). From 2006 to 2010, he served in dual roles as Executive Director of DOJ’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and Deputy Chief of its Fraud Section, Criminal Division. As Deputy Chief, Mr. Linick managed and supervised the investigation and prosecution of white-collar criminal cases involving procurement fraud, public corruption, investment fraud, telemarketing fraud, mortgage fraud, corporate fraud, and money laundering, among other cases. In addition, he was the front-line official at DOJ for contract fraud cases relating to the U.S. wars and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In October 2008, Mr. Linick received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for leading DOJ’s procurement fraud initiative. Previously, Mr. Linick was an Assistant United States Attorney, first in the Central District of California (1994-1999) and subsequently in the Eastern District of Virginia (1999-2006).

Mr. Linick received his BA (1985) and MA (1990) in Philosophy from Georgetown University and his JD (1990) from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Did the senator from Texas just got lucky or had excellent timing? (See Still No Junkyard Dog? Senator Cruz Warns He’ll Place a Hold on All State Dept Nominations).

We are pleased to see that the nominee is an outsider but is not totally a stranger to the role of the Inspector General.

(^o^)

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Filed under Congress, Nominations, Obama, Officially In, SFRC, State Department

Still No Junkyard Dog? Senator Cruz Warns He’ll Place a Hold on All State Dept Nominations

— By Domani Spero
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s failure to nominate an Inspector General (IG) for the U.S. Department of State. IGs are congressionally mandated officers who provide independent agency oversight.

The President’s failure to nominate a State Department Inspector General since taking office in 2009 is unacceptable. The position has been vacant for almost 2,000 days. This is a crucial oversight position and should be a priority for an agency facing substantial management challenges.

While several federal agencies are operating without a Senate-confirmed Inspector General, only the State Department has been without a credible and independent Inspector General for so long.

During the last five years, there have been deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, mismanagement of security contractors at our embassy in Afghanistan, and hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars wasted for police training in Iraq. These issues highlight the State Department’s need for an Inspector General as soon as possible.

Until the President acts, I have notified Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that I will place a hold on all State Department nominations.

According to the Project on Government Oversight, the State Department’s Inspector General  has been vacant since January 16, 2008.  At 1,988 days and counting, the vacancy has been the longest unfilled position among the government watchdogs.  After over 600 days of vacancy, President Obama on June 10, 2013 did nominate Michael G. Carroll as the IG for USAID.

State Department sources apparently told The Daily Beast that outgoing Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford might be in contention for the IG job.  We don’t think that’s even permissible because he is still an active FS officer. And if he retires and is appointed IG, he would be in the same status as the current Acting IG Harold Geisel who is a retired FSO.  Ambassador Geisel, by the way, agrees that a Foreign Service officer cannot be an IG.  Below is an excerpt from his oral history interview.  The Sherman he refers to here is Sherman Funk who was named Inspector General for the State Department in 1987.

Q: The idea being to put somebody in who was not Foreign Service.

GEISEL: That is correct.

Q: Sort of, as I think they called it, a junkyard dog.

GEISEL: That’s what Sherman called it. He said his job was to be a junkyard dog. Now, the inspector general act did not require a non-Foreign Service type that was Jesse Helms who attached some legislation to something else that said a Foreign Service officer cannot be the IG. And after having served as the acting IG, I think that was one of the wisest things that Jesse Helms ever put into legislation because it’s impossible for a Foreign Service type who’s an honorable person to be IG when stuff is coming in over the transom about his friends.

Q: Yes.

GEISEL: I had to disqualify myself a few times. I would sign papers, my counsel would say you know this person, you’re going to sign this but you’re just going to see the person’s name but we’re not briefing you on this. Then I would be out of it and I would designate someone else to receive the work and to brief the deputy secretary about it. It didn’t happen too often but it happened.

Yup, the State Department needs a junkyard dog.  It needed that dog yesterday.

The State Department’s Patrick Ventrell says that “the Secretary and the President have identified an excellent candidate for Inspector General for the State Department, and we look forward to the nomination becoming public after the vetting and paperwork process is complete.”

(¬_¬)

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Filed under Ambassadors, Congress, Obama, State Department