On March 18, Government Accountability Project on behalf of federal whistleblowers called for an investigation of the former head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Michael Pack who reportedly spent nearly $2 million in federal funds investigating Voice of America employees. Excerpt below:
…On behalf of anonymous whistleblowers, alerted Congress and federal whistleblower agencies to new details about sole source, no bid contracts awarded to two law firms by Michael Pack to investigate the employees at the agency he headed, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). USAGM is the parent agency of Voice of America (VOA). Until ordered to resign by President Biden on Inauguration Day, Mr. Pack—a Trump administration political appointee—was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of USAGM.
After alerting the Congress and the federal whistleblower agencies (the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) to Mr. Pack’s misconduct, Government Accountability Project used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain additional details about the sole source, no-bid law firm contracts.
GAP provided a link to USAGM materials released via the latter’s FOIA, available here. Government Accountability Project also sent a supplemental analysis to Congress, OSC, and State/OIG.
Cited among its findings:
The total value of all services rendered by McGuireWoods and Caplin & Drysdale (billed and unbilled) was approximately $1.776 million.
Over four months, McGuireWoods billed approximately $1.625 million in fees and disbursements based on 5,093 billable hours, an average of approximately $320 for each billable hour.
The three activities responsible for over 90 percent of McGuireWoods’ billable hours were: “Document Production” (2,998.10 hours); “Analysis/Strategy” (1,053.40 hours); and “Fact Investigation/Development” (655.80 hours).
Over four months, Caplin & Drysdale billed approximately $66,000 in fees and disbursements based on 84.4 billable hours, an average of over $780 for each billable hour.
GAP urge the Foreign Affairs and Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate, State/OIG and the Office of Special Counsel “to specifically investigate the authority invoked and the representations made by Mr. Pack and others in order to pay these law firms, and any other contractors Mr. Pack hired during his brief and controversial tenure.”
The letter is available to read here.
As @davidseide wrote to government watchdogs today: "This new data further attests to Michael Pack’s — and those who helped him — gross mismanagement, gross waste of taxpayer dollars, abuse of authority and violations of law, rule and regulation."
— Irvin McCullough (@mcculloughirvin) March 18, 2021
NEWS: When a tech non-profit sought to stave off a takeover by then USAGM CEO Michael Pack, it consulted a big law firm on how to sue him.
The law firm instead investigated the fund – its own ex-client – for Pack, as part of a lucrative, no-bid contract.https://t.co/C1EuldOgqT
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) March 10, 2021
On behalf of anonymous whistleblowers, we’ve alerted Congress and federal whistleblower agencies to gross waste of over $1 million by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, parent agency of VOA, to law firm McGuireWoods for the investigation of USAGM employees. https://t.co/FWK5VQPHMh
— Government Accountability Project (@GovAcctProj) March 4, 2021