Inspector General Alleges High-Level Interference in USAID Contract Rigging Investigation

Sunday, January 27, 2013
Lisa Gomer

The second in command at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been accused of interfering with an inspector general’s probe into alleged contract rigging by the agency’s top lawyer.


The investigation was launched after the inspector general (IG) learned that former USAID general counsel Lisa Gomer had helped former chief financial officer David Ostermeyer develop a contract for a “senior government-to-government assistance adviser” that would go to Ostermeyer after he retired. The bidding was later cancelled.


While conducting the probe, the IG’s office was told by Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, USAID’s No. 2 official, that the investigation was “inappropriate” and that the U.S. Department of Justice should not have been told about the case.


“When people are slapping badges down, reading rights and monitoring who is calling who as it relates to career people, it is a mistake,” an IG memo quoted Steinberg as saying to investigators.


USAID spokesman Kamyl Bazbaz told The Washington Post that none of the agency’s top officials interfered with the inspector general’s probe.


Gomer’s attorney claimed the Justice Department has dropped its own investigation into the alleged contracting rigging. But a Justice spokeswoman declined to confirm this assertion when asked by the newspaper.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Interference With Bid-Rigging Probe Alleged At USAID (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

Possible USAID Bid Rigging Probed (by Larry Margasak, Associated Press)


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