Eric Lundquist

Washington Post: Ghost workers, bogus billing at D.C.'s CTO office

By Eric Lundquist
March 13, 2009 9:56 AM EDT
The Washington Post (I'll sure miss newspapers) does a good job at unraveling the FBI raid yesterday on at the Washington, D.C.'s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. The story has generated a lot of additional interest as this was the office once headed by Vivek Kundra who has taken the job of President Obama's Chief Information Officer. Officials involved in the raid have emphasized that Kundra was not a target of the raid and Kundra is currently on a leave of absence from the White House position. In addition to the post, Politico has a link to the affidavit.

      In my reading of the Post's story of the raid and the court filings surrounding the nvestigation, the whole sordid mess (if the allegations prove true) has very little to do with technology and a lot to do with scams that are probably as old as the contractors for the pyramids. Here you have ghost employees on the payroll, contracts that overbill for what was delivered and a plan to head for parts unknown if the cops start knocking. And yes, there is a hero in all this: a stalwart Army vet and engineer who is willing to drop the dime and take a chance wearing the wire rather than keeping his mouth shut and collecting the cash.

      Is there a role for technology in preventing these types of scams? Maybe. I suppose a more transparent contracting process where once closed business dealings are made public for all to see might at least put more eyes on the process of who gets what contract. After all, it is the public's money. But if an executive's ethics are for sale to the highest bidder, there is no technology that cannot be circumvented. Bernie Madoff's scam, the alleged scam at the Washington D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the myriad scams surrounding the ongoing mortgage debacle point to ethical failings that are not going to be "fixed" by technology.