GSA, Sun and More Questions To Come
The troubles with the General Services Administration's contract with Sun Microsystems became well known this spring.
Investigators for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the Democratic Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, turned up evidence in documents and interviews that appeared to show that the giant software maker had overcharged taxpayers for years.
The amount of alleged gouging -- involving charging the government more than the private sector for the same stuff -- could be tens of millions.
A federal prosecutor in Arkansas is pursuing similar allegations, claiming that Sun and other companies worked together in violation of the False Claims Act.
Sun has acknowledged past problems with pricing and told agency officials it has spent nearly $2 million to fix them. The company also said it submitted a plan to avoid a recurrence.
What has been almost overlooked is the fact that Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a Republican, is conducting his own probe of the Sun contract with the GSA. Grassley has expressed outrage that GSA officials appeared to press to renew the Sun deal last summer, despite repeated warnings from the agency's own auditors and contracting officers that taxpayers likely would pay millions more than necessary under the terms offered by Sun.
Top GSA officials differ, saying they agreed to good terms and are looking out for the interests of taxpayers.
Though Grassley is in the minority on the Senate Finance Committee, he is using his legislative chops to press hard on the matter. Sources say that his investigators have interviewed key GSA officials. That includes at least three of the agency's procurement officials, two of whom argued against the contract renewal last year. The third contracting official, Shana Budd, actually signed off on the deal.
Grassley wrote in a letter to the GSA that Budd "allegedly agreed to terms that could cost the government tens of millions in lost savings," something that Budd and GSA officials say is incorrect.
So far Budd's most public remarks on her decision came in an e-mail that was read aloud at a hearing of Waxman's oversight committee in March. "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that every action I took was in the best interests of the Government and the American taxpayer," she wrote.
A report from Grassley's staff apparently will be forthcoming this summer. It will be interesting to learn what the contracting officials are telling Grassley's investigators -- and whether the GSA stands by its handling of the deal. Sources say the report will almost surely reveal other issues with the way the agency handles its many high-tech contracts.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: The Federal Procurement Guru | July 10, 2007 8:42 AM
Posted by: Anonymous Sun Employee | July 10, 2007 11:26 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 2:33 PM
Posted by: anon | July 10, 2007 3:11 PM
Posted by: Fate | July 10, 2007 4:54 PM
Posted by: CB | July 10, 2007 4:59 PM
Posted by: contracting know-it-all | July 10, 2007 7:19 PM
Posted by: AndreaC | July 10, 2007 8:48 PM
Posted by: Not Henry Waxman | July 10, 2007 11:10 PM
Posted by: FP Guru | July 11, 2007 8:35 AM
Posted by: 22 Years at GSA | July 11, 2007 11:52 AM
Posted by: congovman | July 11, 2007 12:12 PM
Posted by: realitycheck | July 11, 2007 2:23 PM
Posted by: FP Guru | July 12, 2007 10:10 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.