By G.F. Scott

October 28, 2007

 

 

What constitutes a “Revolving Door” as in corrupted government and industry?   Employees who start in industry and move to government and use their position, authority or influence to aid, or facilitate their former employer in achieving corporate goals is one scenario.  They may be able to influence development and writing of government policies and regulations as well as how government policies and regulations will be implemented and enforced.  Employees who start out in government, and then move to industry using their previous connections, ability to influence, intimidate, or coerce former colleagues, or employees previously supervised in order to aid or facilitate their new employer’s corporate goals is another scenario.   Or someone who starts in government, may be lured, or coerced into acting in industry’s best interests and then later may be offered the high paying pay-off job at the company they helped while they were in federal employ.  Any of these scenarios, potentially ethically challenging, can involve quid pro quo agreements for the benefit of individuals or corporations and may not in the best interest of the taxpayers or our government.  And evidence is available that shows that some employees move back and forth between government and industry positions repeatedly, potentially repeating questionable conflict of interest activities over time.

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly always, financial gain is a big component of these types of arrangements.  Because of the risks to government interests there are currently policies in place prohibiting an employee moving from a position of power, authority, influence or oversight concerning a particular contractor, directly to a position in that contractor’s employ.  The purpose of these policies is to avoid the possible compromises or quid pro quo  “deals” that might be arranged which might not be in the taxpayers or government’s best interests.  Generally there are stipulated cooling off periods required, before employees may make certain job movements.

 

 

 

 

 

How can one tell if it is just a smart career move or indeed is a revolving door maneuver, complete with the typical manipulation, corruption, and payoff one might expect?  It’s not always an easy thing to identify, until the person proves himself or herself by word and deed what their goals and purposes are.  However, a person’s education, professional experiences, political connections and other elements may be illuminating and an indication of possible conflict of interest.

 

 

 

One of the most noted cases of Revolving Door Corruption recently, was that of D.D., who served as a government employee, (USAF), for a number of years, vocally advocating for a particular defense contractor while doing her contracting job, instead of advocating for the benefit of the taxpayers in government defense contracts.  Eventually, D.D. left government employ and resurfaced as an employee of the very company she had championed while managing government defense contracting, which benefited that company.  After information came out and controversy erupted over the infamous “Tanker Deal” D.D., the Defense Contractor’s top acquisition official, and the Defense Contractor’s Chief Financial Officer, M.S. were both fired by the Defense Contractor, and after a legal battle both pled guilty to conflict of interest and ethics crimes and were sentenced accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some examples of other possible Revolving Door scenarios: 

 

 

A.E. started out as a legislative assistant for National Security Affairs for a Representative to the House of Representatives, and then moved on to serve as an employee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, where he then spent 13 years learning his craft, and had been promoted to the position of staff director.  From staff director of the House Committee on Armed Services, he was recruited to move to a large Defense Contractor, taking the position of Vice President, Aircraft & Missiles Programs, in the company’s Government Relations office in Washington DC.

 

 

 

 

 

His new corporate duties were to be responsible for leading the development and execution of government relations strategies for the company’s programs and issues related to the Department of Defense and in support of the company’s Aircraft & Missiles business unit headquartered in St. Lois, Missouri.  The company states in a press release that their Aircraft and Missiles group manages numerous Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps programs as well as Aerospace Support programs and the Joint Strike Fighter program as well.   His new employer waxed eloquently about this new employee’s attributes in the same press release, stating “We are proud to have a true professional with such proven leadership skills and extensive experience in Washington D.C., as we strive to become more customer-focused, this employee’s vast knowledge of the defense department’s programs and policies will serve us well.”  It appears A.E. is still in this position, and involved in various activities to plan and coordinate efforts to influence decisions and win contracts for his current defense industry employer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

G.G. started out as a Security Specialist for Defense Investigative Service (now called Defense Security Service), and was over time, promoted to Deputy Director, Industrial Security.  G.G. was very active in professional organizations and in government “reinvention” and reform, including promoting major changes in the relationship between government oversight and industry, particularly in advocating for involving industry in the writing of policy and procedural changes, and reworking how oversight would be allowed to work within the agency.    He was a presenter and active participant at conferences in the security field.  He left his management position at DSS and went directly to the position of Director, Security and Fire Protection and Facility Security Officer at a large defense contractor, at that time based in Seattle.  There is evidence to suggest that he continued to try to influence and/or coerce former colleagues and subordinates in DSS regarding implementation of policy, regulations, and enforcement and oversight activities involving G.G.’s new defense contractor employer. 

 

      

 

C.H. founded a business with her partner/husband.  She then became the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense C3I.  She was active in the government “reinvention” activities also in her role of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations in the George W. Bush Administration, replacing William Leonard in November 2001.  Prior to taking Leonard’s job, she worked with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency), and was a member of the Defense Science Board (DSB).

 

 

 

Subsequently, her company,  “actually a one man shop run by a government consultant,” (her husband), was awarded lucrative contracts in Iraq while she continued to remain in her Defense Department government position.  Her company was hired by SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.), said to be one of the most politically connected government contractors holding government contracts in Iraq.

 

She subsequently gave testimony about TALON in a hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, urging it’s purchase and use by the government.  TALON, (a program run by the JPEN program), was developed by CellExchange Inc, which is a defense-contracting partner of SAIC.  C.H. underwent an investigation because of allegations of conflict of interest, but denied anything improper had occurred.

 

 

 

Most recently, C.H. has joined the Board of advisors for Cybrinth LLC, which deals in data custody and information security.  She is also on the Boards of Oakley Networks, a leading force in the Insider Threat prevention market and ICx advanced technology and sensor solutions for military and homeland security, all of which are actively seeking government contracts.

 

 

 

Now, consider again the definition of Revolving Door, and the intent of the prohibitions of such activities for government and industry employees.  These are but a few of the examples of questionable government and industry employee movements and activities.  It seems reasonable to question the lack of government enforcement of even current policies intended to avert conflict of interest and other corruptions, let alone the lack of development of new stricter personnel policies to assure ethics in government contracting.

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