Energy Dept. Spent $89 Billion without Checking Contractors’ Past Records

Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Nearly $90 billion in contracts were awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy over a two-year period without officials bothering to review the performance of the companies that were hired.
 
Included in this spending were federal stimulus monies that were supposed to go to “shovel ready” projects that could quickly produce new jobs for the economy. But many of these investments were not carefully examined before the Energy Department doled out its billions of dollars on work that was not even close to creating employment opportunities.
 
The department’s inspector general reviewed 519 contracts from fiscal years 2009 and 2010 and found that 20% (or 104) were not scrutinized to see if the contractors previously had done a good job. As a result, officials failed to make sure they were “making best value selections in competitive awards and in making contractor responsibility determinations for sole-source contracts,” according to the IG’s report.
 
IG Gregory Friedman also discovered that when it came to spending Recovery Act funds, there were “few actual ‘shovel ready’ projects” approved by the Energy Department.
 
Friedman’s office currently has more than 100 criminal investigations open into contractor deals, including the much-criticized Solyndra affair that could cost taxpayers $535 million.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Audit Report Non-Facility Contractor Prior Performance (U.S. Department of Energy, Inspector General) (pdf)

Contractor Approved Funding for Own Government Contract (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

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