Say It Ain't So
Government Executive has done some follow-up legwork on the sad revelations of misdeeds at the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
What they found only reinforced the findings of a Government Accountability Office report last month, which was spurred by whistleblowers calling a hotline.
Reporters Robert Brodsky and Elizabeth Newell interviewed former DCAA employees, who told them that agency supervisors made audits more favorable to contractors. Here's an excerpt of their story.
"They described an environment where supervisors got upset when auditors used the wrong font in their reports or made spelling errors, but appeared unconcerned that serious overbilling mistakes may have slipped through the cracks. And they recalled times when incomplete audits were pushed out the door by managers more concerned with meeting internal quotas and timetables than by the quality of their work."
"'They don't want findings. It makes waves and draws attention so they avoid those types of things so the higher ups don't come down on them,' said one former auditor who spent nearly three years at DCAA's Minneapolis branch. 'The goal is not to save taxpayers money. People are really too afraid about what they will have to do to back up their findings so they try to avoid them altogether.'"
What a sad state of affairs. More money than ever is being spent on contracts, and we have an insufficient workforce that's not even allowed to do its best on behalf of, well, us.
An excerpt from the GAO findings:
"GAO substantiated the allegations. Although DCAA policy states that its audits are performed according to GAGAS, GAO found numerous examples where DCAA failed to comply with GAGAS. For example, contractor officials and the DOD contracting community improperly influenced the audit scope, conclusions, and opinions of three audits--a serious independence issue. At two DCAA locations, GAO found evidence that (1) working papers did not support reported opinions, (2) DCAA supervisors dropped findings and changed audit opinions without adequate evidence for their changes, and
(3) sufficient audit work was not performed to support audit opinions and conclusions. GAO also substantiated allegations of inadequate supervision of certain audits at a third DCAA location."
The GAO report said "DCAA did not agree with the 'totality' of GAO's findings, but it did acknowledge shortcomings with some audits and agreed to take corrective action."
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