The Bush Assministration continues to use the General Services Administration as the Republikkkan Party’s cash machine.
The chief of the U.S. General Services Administration attempted to give a no-bid contract to a company founded and operated by a longtime friend, sidestepping federal laws and regulations, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post.Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan, a former government contractor appointed by President Bush, personally signed the deal to pay a division of her friend’s public relations firm $20,000 for a 24-page report promoting the GSA’s use of minority- and woman-owned businesses, the documents show.The contract was terminated last summer after GSA lawyers and other agency officials pointed out possible procurement violations, including the failure to adequately justify the no-bid deal or have it reviewed in advance by trained procurement officers, officials said.The GSA’s Office of Inspector General has launched an investigation into the episode and briefed Justice Department lawyers, according to sources who said they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation. Officials at the inspector general’s office and the Justice Department declined to comment.In an interview Wednesday, Doan said she believed she was following proper procedures to hire the best firm available to quickly produce a report on diversity practices.“I made a mistake,” Doan said. “I thought I was moving this along. I was immediately informed that I wasn’t necessarily moving it along in the way that was best for it. So at which point they canceled it, life went on, no money exchanged hands, no contract exchanged hands.“I’m stunned, absolutely stunned by the amount of legs that this has taken, you know, how this has like kind of jumped up and run away with things.”The friend, public relations executive Edie Fraser, declined to comment.[snip]During her business career, Doan developed close ties to the GOP. Between 1999 and 2006, she and her husband, Douglas, a former military intelligence officer and business liaison official at the Department of Homeland Security, donated nearly $226,000 to Republican campaigns and causes, documents show.In 2004, Bush introduced Doan at a Commerce Department event for women who own small businesses. Later that year, Doan was invited to speak at the Republican National Convention in New York. In 2005, Doan sold her firm for an undisclosed sum to a group of investors and retired. At the time, New Technology Management had revenue of nearly $20 million and government contracts worth more than $200 million.Last spring, the Bush administration asked Doan to take over the GSA, which had been shaken by scandal after lobbyist Jack Abramoff tried to obtain properties under GSA control. Abramoff took then-GSA chief of staff David H. Safavian and others on an all-expenses-paid golf trip to Scotland, and Safavian provided Abramoff with inside information about the properties. Both men have been convicted.