Archive for April, 2008


http://www.pogo.org/p/government/ga-080428-whistleblower.html

 

April 28, 2008

 

Criminal Charges Against Boeing Whistleblower Set Dangerous Precedent: Jurors Disagreed on Earlier Charges Resulting in a Mistrial

 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nick Schwellenbach (202) 347-1122

 

This weekend POGO learned that former Boeing quality assurance inspector Gerald Eastman is facing a second round of criminal charges for his whistle-blowing to the press.  King County prosecutors will announce a new trial date on April 30th, 2008 according to an email from Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson to Eastman’s public defender, Ramona Brandes.

 

“The charges against Eastman are a message to all potential whistle-blowers at Boeing,” said Nick Schwellenbach, an investigator at POGO.  “The message from Boeing is clear: We’ll try to send you to jail if you disclose information to the press.”

 

Eastman was discovered accessing and downloading internal Boeing information, some of which he shared with reporters at the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  Eastman’s disclosures to the press mostly concerned quality assurance and inspection problems he perceived while working at Boeing, though many of the articles he sparked related to increasing outsourcing of Boeing’s production.

 

After conferring with Boeing, the King County prosecutor’s office last month pursued criminal charges against Eastman for “computer trespass,” a charge normally used against hackers, not whistle-blowers.  The first trial resulted in a hung jury because some of the jurors believed Eastman’s activities were whistle-blowing and should not result in criminal prosecution.  The judge in that case told jurors not to consider whistle-blower laws.

 

Several lawyers have told POGO that the Eastman case is part of a disturbing trend of whistle-blowers increasingly facing criminal prosecution.  The First Amendment right of free speech is a typical and powerful defense in these cases.  Although a company can often legally terminate an employee, it considered extreme for a government prosecutor to attempt to jail a whistle-blower for his activities.

 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.

Bush Plan To Contract Federal Jobs Falls Short
Scope and Savings Have Not Met Goals

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008; A01

Joseph Wassmann thought he had a secure position producing videos for the U.S. Military Academy, but not long ago he found his job on the line because of a Bush administration plan to inject more efficiency into the federal bureaucracy.

Wassmann, 40, was among a group of information management employees at West Point who had to prove that they could do their jobs better and more cheaply than a private contractor. If they could not, they were told, the work would be outsourced. It was all part of President Bush‘s government-wide plan to reduce costs by inviting contractors to bid on about 425,000 federal jobs that could be considered “commercial” in nature.

The West Point competition dragged on for more than two years. In the end, Wassmann and most of his co-workers won, but only by agreeing to downsize from 119 employees to 88. And the mood has never been worse, he said.

“Tensions are at an all-time high,” he said. “We have to cut ourselves to the bone to win these bids. . . . And morale is just destroyed afterward.”

The public-private face-off at West Point illustrates just what Bush envisioned when he proposed the “competitive sourcing” initiative in 2001 as part of his management agenda. It turned on a simple idea: Force federal employees to compete for their jobs against private contractors and costs will decrease, even if the work ultimately stays in-house.

But as Bush’s presidency winds down, the program’s critics say it has had disappointing results and shaken morale among the federal government’s 1.8 million civil servants.

Private contractors have grown increasingly reluctant to participate in the competitions, which federal employees have won 83 percent of the time.

The program fell short of the president’s goals in scope and in cost savings. Between 2003 and 2006, agencies completed competitions for fewer than 50,000 jobs, a fraction of what Bush envisioned.

Moreover, the Government Accountability Office found that the administration has overstated the savings from some competitions by undercounting the costs of running them. Collectively, they cost $225 million, or about $4,800 per job, according to White House figures.

“The competitive sourcing initiative did little to improve management, produced a ton of worthless paper, demoralized thousands of workers and cost a bundle, all to prove that federal employees are pretty good after all,” said Paul C. Light, a professor of government at New York University‘s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

“From a legacy perspective for the president, I think this will be seen as a costly failure on his part,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies. “They have not made any progress on what their stated goal was, and that’s a good thing. It has been just an endless fight to slow them down and to derail them.”

Bush officials acknowledge that they had hoped to put many more jobs up for competition — as varied as janitorial services and computer management. Even so, they say, the competitions completed thus far have generated realized and projected savings of more than $7 billion.

“We’ve delivered real savings — over $1 billion a year,” said Clay Johnson III, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. “I thought we would have generated by now even larger savings than that. But anything that generates savings of that magnitude has to be deemed a big success.”

Competitive sourcing dates to Dwight D. Eisenhower‘s administration, when the White House began encouraging federal agencies to turn to the private sector for certain goods and services. For decades, almost all such competitions took place in the Defense Department, the government’s largest.

Bush entered office with a deep skepticism of government. He saw competitive sourcing as a way to improve agencies’ performance.

Private companies loved the idea of vast new contracting opportunities. But federal unions feared the concept was simply a way to steer lucrative business to the administration’s political backers.

From the outset, the program’s rocky path illustrated the collective political power of federal workers. The initiative drew early criticism from politicians whose districts included many federal employees, including Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.). They argued that the White House was pursuing “arbitrary” numerical job targets.

In the end, the unions and their allies in Congress largely stymied the administration’s efforts. They banned the use of numerical quotas. They inserted special provisions in annual appropriations bills that denied funding for some competitions. And they walled off certain federal jobs after declaring them “inherently governmental.”

The unions, including the American Federation of Government Employees and the NTEU, also won legislative restrictions that removed health care and retirement benefits from the cost comparisons, wiping out an advantage for many private-sector bidders.

Many contractors threw up their hands and stopped participating, said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, an Arlington-based contractor group.

A competition involving 258 administrative positions at the Labor Department, including 50 in the Mine Safety and Health Administration, illustrates why contractors lost interest, Soloway said.

In May 2007, the department awarded the work to GAP Solutions, a small, minority-owned firm in Virginia whose bid promised $62 million in savings over five years. But at the behest of unions, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) had the jobs declared inherently governmental, prohibiting the contractor from taking over the work.

The company had already hired some employees, but when Labor officials terminated the $71 million contract, they refused to reimburse the firm for its upfront costs, Soloway said. (GAP Solutions officials declined to comment.)

“It’s unfortunate that it has effectively gone from being a management tool to really more of a political issue,” he said.

The unions are not happy, either. They cite another troubled competition, this one at the Internal Revenue Service. In 2005, about 1,100 agency employees initially won in their bid to keep jobs to manage paper tax returns at seven IRS service centers. After a company protest, though, the agency reversed itself and hired IAP Worldwide Services.

Shortly before IAP was to take over in late 2006, it notified the IRS that it was not prepared to do the work at all locations. By then, federal employees were already moving to other jobs. The contractor did not get fully on board until late last year. Yet in a report issued last spring, the OMB claimed about $35 million in savings, said Kelley, the NTEU president.

“This, for me, is just an example that OMB’s projections of savings from federal contracting are wildly speculative and they are completely unsupported by any evidence,” she said.

The OMB’s Johnson said agencies are doing more to validate savings claims.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is the federal government can be more focused on its cost and its performance. We should always look at what it costs us to do everything — IT, human resources, building maintenance, everything. And if we ever stop doing that, then we are being poor stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”

At West Point, the workers won, but they are not celebrating. Some displaced employees found other academy jobs. Some took early retirement.

Soft landings are getting harder to come by, and more competitions are on the way, said Don Hale, president of the AFGE Local 2367, which represents 1,600 workers at the academy.

“When we first started the competitive sourcing initiative, we had some fat here,” he said. “Now it’s at a point where we’re going to start losing people because we can’t gain any efficiencies.”

 

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008; A07

The Senate Armed Services Committee has asked the Defense Department‘s inspector general to review the role of senior Air Force officials in a $50 million contract, seeking further investigation into possible criminal conduct, ethical violations and failures of leadership.

Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked the inspector general on Monday to review the conduct of all current and former Air Force officials who were named in a 251-page investigative report released last week, noting that it “raises serious questions about the role played” by senior officials. The report provided a blow-by-blow account of how a company owned by a civilian friend of senior Air Force leaders and by a retired four-star general received a $50 million contract to update the Thunderbirds air show, despite a bid up to twice as high as other offers.

Investigators found that Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein steered the contract toward Strategic Message Solutions amid contracting irregularities and a stacked selection panel. Goldfein and four other officers received administrative punishment. The report named Gen. T. Michael “Buzz” Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, as having potentially inappropriate contact with SMS owners but was spared punishment and has publicly defended his actions.

Yesterday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), also a member of the Armed Services Committee, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asking him to hold senior officers accountable.

“I am particularly concerned with the actions of Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley and the dismissive and demoralizing message it sends to subordinates when there is a lack of disciplinary action taken against the most senior leaders,” McCaskill wrote.

McCaskill also wrote a stern letter yesterday to Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne, saying a telephone conversation they had regarding the matter left her concerned that he was not giving the botched contract enough attention.

“It is incomprehensible to me that no action has been taken to reprimand General Moseley or to evaluate his continued fitness to lead the Air Force,” McCaskill wrote.

Moseley, in an interview last week, said he was aware of ethical and legal boundaries and never crossed them. E-mail records in the IG report show that Moseley wanted his contracting teams to follow the rules once instructed to look at the Thunderbirds proposal.

 

 

 

GSA inspector general cleared of whistleblower complaints

 

The General Services Administration inspector general has been cleared of all allegations of misconduct in a pair of wide-ranging complaints filed by four of the office’s former attorneys.

The inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service found that GSA IG Brian Miller had not violated any statute, rule or regulation, according to an April letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to GSA Administrator Lurita A. Doan.

A similar opinion was offered in January by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency’s Integrity Committee, which is responsible for probing complaints against inspectors general.

But, despite calls for an immediate cease fire, the closure of the whistleblower case appears to have only inflamed the fury of Doan, who has feuded with Miller virtually since the day she took office.

The Corporation for National and Community Service IG, which agreed to review the case after the integrity and efficiency council ruled that some of the complaints did not fall within its purview, was looking specifically at whether the nonreimbursable detail of a GSA IG employee violated the Anti-Deficiency Act. The employee had been detailed to the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Vincent Mulloy, counsel to the community service IG, conducted a full breakdown of the complaint, reviewing the allegations, relevant laws and court decisions, according to Grassley’s letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post’s Government Inc. blog.

“The complaint should be considered without merit, and closed, to end the distraction of GSA OIG personnel from their duties,” Mulloy wrote.

All additional complaints filed by the former attorneys, including former counsel Kevin Buford, were decided to be “personnel management” concerns that should be addressed by the agency’s IG and his staff, the letter said. In two separate complaints to the integrity and efficiency council, the whistleblowers had charged Miller and his top deputies with intimidation, harassment and a host of retaliatory actions.

“We are satisfied that this matter has been put to rest,” Miller said. “Multiple independent reviews showed the allegations to be false. Let’s all get back to work.”

Grassley, who has attempted to mediate the fractious relationship between Miller and Doan, encouraged the two to put aside their differences and work together for taxpayers.

“The PCIE review and the CNCS-OIG analysis should convince you the Buford PCIE complaint has been addressed and closed,” Grassley wrote to Doan. “As such, I encourage you and IG Miller to demonstrate to all GSA employees the professionalism and character we all expect of top administrators in the federal government. I trust that you will move past this matter and will work cooperatively with the GSA OIG.”

Grassley’s optimism, however, could be misplaced.

In a statement to Government Executive, Doan made it clear that she is not ready to drop the whistleblower complaint — or her scrutiny of Miller.

“I am, and will continue to be, a fierce advocate for GSA employees and will not allow any form of improper harassment and intimidation to create a hostile workplace at our agency,” she said. “I find it remarkable that none of these whistleblowers has yet been interviewed. Instead, their core complaint about harassment and improper intimidation and retaliation is being ignored. This issue will not be put to rest until their complaints are investigated and a finding of fact is made. Ignoring these complaints and pretending the problem will self-correct is not going to work.”

Doan further said the whistleblowers had their “reputations impugned and their careers interrupted after making these allegations, and all have sought transfer to other jobs.”

As she has in the past, the controversial administrator once again portrayed the whistleblower complaints as an extension of her own long-running and public feud with Miller. Doan has filed numerous complaints against Miller, alleging improper contracting, leaking documents to the media, falsifying records and issuing excessive bonuses to his staff.

Miller has investigated Doan for her role in a contract with Sun Microsystems, her reported attempt to give a sole-source contract to a friend and her participation in a politically motivated conference. In 2007, the Office of Special Counsel found that Doan had violated the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by executive branch employees.

Doan has denied the allegations and said Miller is retaliating against her for spending cuts and increased oversight she proposed for the IG’s office.

She made it clear that peace with Miller is not in the cards any time soon. “I will stay on this issue like a dog on a bone until I am absolutely convinced that GSA does not harbor or tolerate behavior that creates a hostile workplace,” Doan said.

Compromise Takes Shape for Inspectors General Bill

By Stephen Barr
Friday, April 25, 2008; D04

After a decade of debate, Congress appears ready to strengthen the independence of the government’s inspectors general.

The Senate, on a voice vote late Wednesday, approved a bill that would set job qualifications for inspectors general, allow Congress to determine if an agency was trying to punish an IG by cutting his or her budget and ensure that all audits and investigative reports are posted on agency Web sites within three workdays.

“This bill is key to preserving the IGs’ role as government watchdogs and making sure they can do their job of rooting out waste in this country,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said in a statement. She and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) are the bill’s chief sponsors.

The House approved a similar bill in October, championed by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), on a vote of 404 to 11. But the Bush administration lodged a veto threat against Cooper’s bill, prompting the Senate to soften its version while still trying to protect IGs from political pressure.

House and Senate aides plan to hold informal talks on how to shape a compromise bill. Some of the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were optimistic that an agreement could be reached that would pass muster at the White House.

Cooper yesterday praised the Senate’s action: “With the passage of Sen. McCaskill’s companion bill, we’re one step closer to seeing this legislation signed into law. I’m encouraged by the nearly unanimous votes in both chambers and look forward to working out a good compromise.”

Inspectors general walk fine lines in the government. Those who end up at large agencies are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate and are expected to serve both masters. They are supposed to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in agencies, while doing their best not to blindside the political appointees that run them.

Last year, some Democrats expressed concern in hearings that some inspectors general seemed too wary of crossing their bosses; others suggested that IGs need to be held more accountable for their work.

The House bill moved first, drawing objections from the White House. Those objections contributed to Senate efforts to create a bill able to win bipartisan support, leading to slightly different approaches in three areas.

Cooper’s bill would provide IGs with seven-year terms, let them submit budget requests directly to Congress and permit the White House to fire them only for cause.

The Senate bill would not provide a guaranteed term in office, would require the White House to show how much money each IG requested and the amount recommended in the president’s budget, and would require a notification about any effort to remove an IG.

But both bills would urge the appointment of IGs with “demonstrated ability” in accounting, auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration or investigations. The bills would also create a council to review allegations of wrongdoing made against IGs and their staffs.

The bills would address pay issues within the IG corps. IGs at large agencies would be paid at the midpoint of the executive pay schedule (currently $158,500) plus 3 percent extra. IGs at smaller agencies would be paid at rates comparable to those of other senior executives.

Under both bills, no IG would be able to accept a bonus.

Engineers Back Obama

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, which represents engineers, scientists and technicians at the departments of Defense and Energy and at NASA, has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president, the union announced yesterday.

The Illinois Democrat is the best candidate to address civil service, health care, outsourcing, trade and other issues important to the union, said Gregory Junemann, its president.

The union represents about 85,000 workers in the public and private sectors. It helped organize a labor coalition to oppose an attempt by the Bush administration to curb union rights at the Defense Department.

Talk Shows

Craig W. Floyd, chairman and chief executive of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, will be the guest on “FedTalk” at 11 a.m. today on http://federalnewsradio.com and WFED radio (1050 AM).

David L. Norquist, chief financial officer at the Department of Homeland Security, will be the guest on the IBM “Business of Government Hour” at 9 a.m. tomorrow on WJFK radio (106.7 FM).

Stephen Barr’s e-mail address is barrs@washpost.com.

 

 Prosecute the Mortgage Sharks
    By Michelle Singletary
    The Washington Post

    Sunday 27 April 2008

    When Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson released the government’s blueprint for overhauling the nation’s financial regulatory structure, he promised to direct more attention toward the front-line people who arrange mortgage loans.

    “Simply put, that process was broken,” Paulson said.

    To protect consumers from predatory lending and deceptive disclosure practices, Paulson proposed the creation of a federal Mortgage Origination Commission that would establish minimum standards for loan officers. It would also evaluate, rate and report on each state’s efforts to license and regulate these mortgage salespeople.

    Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?

    But based on my investigation of one mortgage operation, which has continued to arrange loans despite state sanctions, what’s needed is more criminal prosecution, not another commission with little power. After all, we’re talking about loan officers responsible for explaining mortgage products, some of which have complicated terms and high fees, the types of products that have led this nation into its current economic mudslide.

    You may better understand the problems with the mortgage-processing system by looking at CashFlow Strategies, formerly called Financial Independence Group, which was run by Georgia-based businessman Frederick C. Lee Jr. This case highlights how state- and nationally regulated financial institutions can fail to verify that borrowers are working with licensed loan officers.

    Lee has been banned from arranging loans in Maryland and Georgia because neither he nor his companies were licensed for such activity. And yet, in violation of those orders, people working for Lee have continued to arrange mortgage loans that for many borrowers are inappropriate, according to sources and company documents. Equally disturbing is that these borrowers are paying fees on these loans that many consumer advocacy groups would call predatory.

    Several Maryland homeowners acknowledged that they gave personal information to people working for CashFlow in order to get their loan applications processed. Some said they knew the loan originators used to work for Financial Independence; others said they were unaware. Candice Thompson, whose business card says she’s a CashFlow marketing representative, assured one Maryland loan applicant that she was licensed and that the company was free of any legal troubles.

    “Yes, I am licensed and no the company isn’t under investigation,” she wrote in a text message.

    Thompson is not licensed as a loan officer in Maryland, according to state officials. The company is under investigation.

    In a subsequent text, Thompson said she didn’t have to be licensed in Maryland because she worked for Home Savings of America, which is based in Little Falls, Minn.

    “we r federally chartered we don’t have 2 follow state guidelines!” Thompson wrote.

    Dirk Adams, chief executive of Home Savings, said that Thompson was not employed by the bank and that Home Savings had no business relationship with CashFlow.

    Thompson did not respond to e-mails or telephone calls for comment.

    Sarah Bloom Raskin, Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation, said the state is continuing to aggressively investigate the Lee case.

    In Maryland, unlicensed loan officers can be fined up to $25,000 and imprisoned for up to five years, or both.

    Lee denies that Financial Independence ever arranged mortgage loans. He also said he had nothing to do with CashFlow, though the company has the same Georgia address and telephone number as Financial Independence. One company document welcoming new employees to CashFlow says Lee is its founder.

    With Lee’s history of regulatory run-ins, one would think financial institutions would avoid doing business with him. And yet Lee has continued to do business with banks and licensed mortgage brokers who fail to detect questionable actions by him and the people working for his companies.

    Last year, Wachovia, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, funded 196 loans totaling about $54.2 million that Lee brought to the financial institution, according to an e-mail sent to Lee by Scott Davenport, a former national account executive with Wachovia.

    “With the majority of the volume conducted in the 3rd and 4th quarter of last year, you easily would have been No. 1 with a full year of volume,” Davenport wrote to Lee in the e-mail, its veracity confirmed by Wachovia. “Let’s keep up the great work and push for a great 2008.”

    Davenport sent the e-mail several months after The Washington Post and other publications reported that cease-and-desist orders had been issued against Lee in Maryland and Georgia for originating loans without a license.

    Soon after I inquired about Wachovia’s business transactions with Lee, Davenport was fired. Wachovia confirmed that Davenport was terminated but declined to comment why.

    Wachovia spokesman Don Vecchiarello said in a statement: “In its wholesale channel, Wachovia deals directly with numerous mortgage broker companies. We do not control the manner in which brokers identify potential loan applicants. However, it is Wachovia’s policy not to do business with or through any individual or company that has been the subject of disciplinary proceedings by state licensing authorities.”

    It’s not only the disciplinary actions that are bothersome about this operation. Key Financial Corp., based in Clearwater, Fla., was listed as the customer contact on a Maryland loan application taken by Thompson of CashFlow and processed by Wachovia. Although the loan was not funded because the appraisal was too low on the homeowner’s property, the borrower was still dealing with an unlicensed loan officer.

    Jeffrey Dell, general counsel for Key, said the institution has no record of that particular application.

    “At this point, Key plans to investigate any connection or collusion between individuals who had no authority to transact business in the name of Key Financial Corporation with individuals at Wachovia,” Dell said.

    With major financial institutions failing to vet the people who bring them loan applicants, it’s no wonder we ended up in this mortgage mess.

    Paulson is right. The mortgage sales process is broken. But I doubt another impotent federal commission will be enough to patch the holes in a system where unlicensed individuals can easily arrange and broker loans for the most significant asset that many people own.

  ——-

 

Pentagon halts feeding of information to

retired officers while issue is reviewed

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, April 26, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Defense Department has temporarily stopped feeding information to retired military officers pending a review of the issue, said Robert Hastings, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.

The New York Times first reported on Sunday that the Defense Department was giving information to retired officers serving as pundits for various media organizations in order to garner favorable media coverage.

Some of these retired officers saw their access to key decision-makers as possible business opportunities for the defense contractors they represent, according to the newspaper. The story also alleged that the officers who did not repeat the Bush administration’s official line were denied further access to information.

Hastings said he is concerned about allegations that the Defense Department’s relationship with the retired military analysts was improper.

“Following the allegations, the story that is printed in the New York Times, I directed my staff to halt, to suspend the activities that may be ongoing with retired military analysts to give me time to review the situation,” Hastings said in an interview with Stripes on Friday.

Hastings said he did not discuss the matter with Defense Secretary Robert Gates prior to making his decision. He could not say Friday how long this review might take.

“We’ll take the time to do it right,” he said.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., said in a speech that he was angered by the allegations raised in the New York Times’ story.

“There is nothing inherently wrong with providing information to the public and the press,” Skelton said. “But there is a problem if the Pentagon is providing special access to retired officers and then basically using them as pawns to spout the administration’s talking points of the day.”

Skelton, who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he was also disturbed by the ties between the military officers and defense firms.

“It hurts me to my core to think that there are those from the ranks of our retired officers who have decided to cash in and essentially prostitute themselves on the basis of their previous positions within the Department of Defense,” he said.

Hastings, who had not seen Skelton’s remarks before Friday’s interview, said he is unaware of the Defense Department’s past activities with retired military analysts. He took over his current post in March.

“I need a little time to kind of digest that and figure out what the path forward is,” he said.

Received from Whistleblower_News, Yahoo Groups 4-27-08

 

Check this out.  We sure do need people willing to run for office who truly do want to stop the corruption and criminal activities.  I do not know any of these people or issues personally.  See what you think.  –GFS

 

 

———————————————————————————————————-

Rigged USA Elections Exposed

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=JEzY2tnwExs&feature=related

 

Computer Programmer, Clint Curtis, testified that Tom Feeney (Speaker of the Houe of Florida at the time, currently US Representative) tried to pay him to rig election vote counts.

He is now running in the primary so he can run against Feeney and be a voice in Congress to stop the corruption & work for the people. He needs a little help from all the people who want Congress to represent the people instead of the corporations. 

 

Read the message I just received below.

 

Donations can be made on-line at — http://www.ClintCurtis. com
<
http://www.ClintCur tis.com>

 

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

 

We may have to withdraw

The time for filing has arrived. We have not raised enough money
to stay in this race unless we can get support from you today.
Two weeks ago we needed $10,000 to stay in this race. We now need
only $2000. Without your help, we will have to withdraw from the
primary.

Contributors we have counted on before have been intimidated by
Kosmas and the party insiders. That means that a party puppet
that will not support our values may have a clear path at going
against Feeney in the General. Our values will not be fulfilled.
Millionaires, the Chamber of Commerce, insurance companies, and
developers already have enough representation in Congress.

There are some that are mesmerized by the dollars and those that
believe the DC insiders know better of our needs and values than
we do ourselves. I am thankful to all of you that have stayed
with me and I promise you that when I am elected I will not
knuckle under to a Democratic leadership that has shown little
ability to pursue what we elected them to do. Democrats need to
start acting like Democrats!

I will help build the coalition that will stop the funding of the
war. I will pass the bill that sets up a prototype V-diesel plant
in Central Florida that will begin this country’s road to energy
independence (reducing your fuel cost down to less than 72 cents
per gallon) AND bring jobs to this area. I will crush all free
trade agreements that do not enforce labor and environmental
standards and places American jobs at a disadvantage. Just as
importantly I will end this non-partisan drive within the
Democratic party that has resulted in our Democratic Congress
continuing with the Bush agenda.

Recent polling has shown that we are the only candidate that has
a chance to beat Feeney in the General. It also demonstrated that
except for political insiders Kosmas has no support in District
24.

Please donate whatever amount you can to make our values reality.
What we, as Democrats stand for, is in your hands.

Donations can be made on-line at — http://www.ClintCurtis. com
<http://www.ClintCur tis.com> or by mail at P.O. Box 1456,
Titusville FL 32780.

Polling Results As Of 4-15-08

Democrat Primary Voters
Bhola, Gaurav “Garv” (D) 5%
Ron Bobay (D) 7%
Curtis, Clint (D 62%
Feeney, Tom (R) 0%
Kosmas, Suzanne (D) 18%
Undecided 8%

Republican Primary Voters
Bhola, Gaurav “Garv” (D) 0%
Ron Bobay (D) 0%
Curtis, Clint (D 13%
Feeney, Tom (R) 77%
Kosmas, Suzanne (D) 2%
Undecided 8%

General Election Voters
Curtis, Clint (D 47%
Feeney, Tom (R) 39%
Undecided 14%

General Election Voters
Feeney, Tom (R) 53%
Kosmas, Suzanne (D) 31%
Undecided 16%

Julie Omohundro Durham, North Carolina 919-544-3366

 

FELONY CONDUCT. . . IS

FELONY CONDUCT

 

The sentencing of former Pentagon IG Chief

Investigator Richard T. Race

 

 

 

Op-Ed

 

By Douglas K. Kinan

 

April 24, 2008

 

In a well unpublicized case, “Richard T. Race, the Pentagon inspector general’s chief investigator of procurement fraud and official misconduct quit his job and pleaded guilty last month to violating U.S. banking laws.”  Mr. Race was also a key member of the Defense Council on Integrity and Efficiency.  The sentencing date for Mr. Race is May 2, 2008.

 

A March 18, 2008, Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) Information Release, states, “The Office of Inspector General was not involved in the reporting or investigation of the matters underlying the recent judicial action and has no information that would suggest any relationship between those matters and Mr. Race’s official duties with the OIG.” 

 

I disagree.  Felony conduct is not about the person – it’s about felony conduct – and its related.

 

At his arraignment Judge Leonie Brinkema told Mr. Race that he should have “known better.”  Mr. Race’s many years of experience in law enforcement and his actions demonstrate that his intent was clear. See the letter Mr. Kinan sent to Judge Brinkema.

 

As a former Department of Defense employee, after Mr. Race’s appointment I wrote to him requesting that the extensive and pervasive verified record of felony conduct and well planned discrimination by several officials at the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMAE), Boston, Massachusetts be investigated. 

 

Concerning two, of many employees, who were framed and fired for violations that Mr. Race knew they did not commit, the Hotline Director, Mr. Leonard Trahan, Jr., (and eventually Mr. Race’s subordinate) writes, “There were two EEO cases in the District in which Mr. Kinan disagreed with the decisions made by Ms. Appleton and Mr. Krasker, the DCMDE Chief Counsel.  Instead of accepting those decisions “as reasonable people can disagree”, they became a ‘cause celebre’ for Mr. Kinan.” 

 

That the Hotline Director who is responsible for DoD fraud, waste and abuse would essentially admit that it is okay to frame innocent individuals, stand by and watch them anguish for many months (Virella was 60 months) and allow them to be stripped of their career and full pension and then justify felony conduct as a “cause celebre” is contrary to what the DoD Hotline does. 

 

In a conflict of interest, Mr. Race’s second subordinate, Mr. James L. Pavlik, covered up for Mr. Trahan by conducting a fraudulent investigation, making false official statements and issuing a fraudulent report to Senator Charles Grassley

 

Despite the unequivocal fact that Mr. Pavlik had a “specific and credible” record that innocent employees were framed, Mr. Pavlik wrote, “The analysis that concludes Mr. Kinan’s disclosure did not contain “specific and credible” information or did not meet the “substantial likelihood” test that it would be substantiated and was therefore not in the category of cases referable to the Defense Criminal Investigative Service…”

 

Mr. Race could have prevented the DCMAE from framing others.  Instead, Mr. Race opted to shield his subordinates’ felony conduct.  As I wrote to the DoD Inspector General, Claude Kicklighter, “Framing two innocent individuals is not just a simple matter of “two EEO cases” – it’s framing two innocent people.” 

 

The DCMAE wasted more than one million taxpayer dollars to secretly settle these two threatened lawsuits that could expose their felony conduct, promotion fixing and program fraud in the millions of taxpayer dollars. 

 

Mr. Race’s deliberate indifference to the conduct outlined in my thirty-page affidavit caused many innocent individuals permanent and immeasurable damage.  Additionally, the ripple effect of fixed promotions essentially denies many DoD employees the opportunity to compete for merit-based promotions. 

 

As evidence of the DCMAE’s continuing violations, Mr. Race also had knowledge of the DCMAE’s recent framing and fraudulent investigation of whistleblower, Mr. Kenneth Pedeleose, as can be verified by the October 24, 2007, United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) “Opinion and Order” reversing Pedeleose’s 30 day retaliatory suspension. See MSPB Docket No. AT-0752-06-0350-I-1.

 

The MSPB’s opinion and order breathes legitimacy into and corroborates the factual record that the DCMAE attorneys continue to insist on framing innocent citizens and conducting fraudulent investigations to sustain false and fabricated charges, using the same modus operandi each time.

   

Mr. Race’s insensitivity has no limits and knows no bounds – his deeds supersede his words.  Anyone willing to frame an innocent person should not be taken seriously.  It’s about the lowest act you can do. 

 

At his sentencing hearing Mr. Race or his attorney will be asking the court for leniency and will offer the standard shibboleths routinely issued by defendants.  There will be no one there to offset Mr. Race’s malice, lack of mercy, empathy or “remorse.”  The court should not overlook Mr. Race’s willingness and propensity to permanently harm innocent individuals, their families and the government. 

 

Mr. Race ignored the fact that many innocent individuals were framed, stripped of their career and full pension for violations he knew they did not commit and he condoned his subordinates’ chronic and systemic malfeasance. 

 

Mr. Race was allowed to “take voluntary retirement” on February 16, 2008.  Should Mr. Race, who admitted guilt, be allowed to collect his full pension when he knew that his subordinates consciously decided that innocent employees should not collect theirs?

 

http://www.oscwatch.org/blog/2008/04/24/felony-conduct-is-felony-conduct/

 

 

Mr. Kinan is a former Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) Specialist with the Defense Contract Management Agency, and he may be contacted as follows:

 

DougKinan@yahoo.com

 

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/359051_dalaibiz15.html

Dalai Lama visit: A compassionate look at doing business

Do good, get a ‘positive result,’ Dalai Lama says

Last updated April 14, 2008 10:50 p.m. PT

By ANDREA JAMES
P-I REPORTER

If the Dalai Lama’s theory on compassion in business is true, then the stock of Costco Wholesale Corp. should keep rising.

His message to a closed audience of business and policy leaders at Seattle Center was one of simple karma: “If you do good, you get positive result. Something that creates harm is bad because we do not want to create suffering.”

Costco was one of several examples of compassionate Northwest businesses highlighted during a panel discussion during the Seeds of Compassion conference Monday. The Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, is the star attraction of the five-day event.

Issaquah-based Costco pays benefits to employees and limits price markups — which sometimes draws ire from Wall Street investors. Co-founder and Chairman Jeffrey Brotman said that balance is hard to achieve in the business world.

“It amazes me that customers would award bad behavior of our competitors,” Brotman said. “It’s frustrating.”

Addressing him as “his holiness,” panel moderator Eric Liu, a former White House deputy for domestic affairs, asked the Dalai Lama, “How do we collectively change the culture so that every day consumers don’t reward such bad behavior?”

The Dalai Lama shrugged and responded, “I have no such experience.”

While running a ruthless business might lead to more profit in the short term, the Dalai Lama said, in the long run, “we lose.”

The Dalai Lama sat in a red chair flanked by Brotman, state Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, consultant Kevin Washington and former Boeing government liaison Bob Watt.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz was listed as a panelist on the program schedule, but a company spokeswoman said he had a scheduling conflict. A spokeswoman for Seeds of Compassion said the “last-minute” change was made after programs were printed.

The Dalai Lama made jokes with the panelists and audience and presented a relaxed and unpretentious aura, feeling free to scratch his ear or cheek while the others clasped their hands in their laps. The spiritual leader said competition in business is OK, as long as it builds up, rather than tears down, the opponent.

“If your colleague (is a) little bit lazy, or something like that, you try to be more competitive. So that is the positive side,” he said. “Negative side — to be causing one trouble.”

When Watt asked how to change the culture to be more compassionate, the Dalai Lama responded that there are three routes: through God, through non-theistic religion such as Buddhism and through a secular or scientific approach.

Later, pointing to his heart, he said, “If you want happy days, happy nights, happy family, take care here.”

Though compassion comes with a price, quantitative research backs up the Dalai Lama’s views, said Rajendra Sisodia, author of “Firms of Endearment.” Compassionate companies tend to outperform the market, he said.

“He has a way of clarifying things and simplifying things,” Sisodia said of the Dalai Lama. “It’s quite extraordinary. What we have done here is tap into some timeless wisdom.”


P-I reporter Paul Shukovsky contributed to this report. P-I reporter Andrea James can be reached at 206-448-8124 or andreajames@seattlepi.com.