Oversight

A weekly rundown of the latest efforts of lawmakers to scrutinize the actions of the executive branch.

•House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

(3/6/07) — Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is questioning Lurita Doan, administrator for the General Services Administration (GSA), about allegations that Doan had been using her position for personal interests.
In his letter to GSA, Waxman wrote that Doan had awarded a $20,000 no-bid contract to Edie Fraser, a close friend of Doan’s. The chairman also mentioned allegations that Doan had asked GSA employees to help Republican candidates and that Doan intervened on behalf of Sun Microsystems in a contract dispute with the GSA.

 “As GSA administrator, with authority over billions in federal contracts, your actions set an example for procurement officials throughout the government,” Waxman wrote. “You should be a model for integrity in contracting.”

Waxman encouraged Doan to respond to the allegations and invited her to a committee hearing March 20.

•House Homeland Security Committee:

(3/1/07) — Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote a scathing letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on comments he allegedly made about Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees.

Chertoff said bargaining rights for TSA workers threatens national security and compared TSA workers to soldiers in the armed services.

“Your recent remarks may well send a chill throughout the entire workforce and further erode their necessary esprit de corps,” Thompson wrote. “I urge you to apologize for your outrageous and inaccurate statements which are counterproductive to the Department’s mission.”

Thompson said the comments were inappropriate at a time when attrition rates among TSA employees have been as high as 50 percent.

•Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee:

(3/1/07) — Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the departments of Defense and Homeland Security in response to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Hurricane Katrina that recommended more transparency on agency contracts awarded for reconstruction efforts in the Gulf Coast region.

Kerry urged the departments to comply with the GAO’s recommendations of more oversight and transparency with the government subcontracts.