Monday, April 1, 2013

VA Probes $42 Million in Awards Questioned by Congress

VA Probes $42 Million in Awards Questioned by Congress
Bloomberg News
By Kathleen Miller
Apr 1, 2013

U.S. lawmakers await the results of a Department of Veterans Affairs probe into why an agency employee processed more than 1,500 awards just under a monetary threshold that would require public disclosure of the contracts.

The inquiry focuses on a staff member who oversees orders for some VA health facilities in New York and New Jersey and who processed transactions worth more than $42 million over a roughly 18-month period. A letter from a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee said that the purchases ranged in amounts between $24,500 and $24,980.

Transactions of $25,000 and more are generally required to be published on a federal government procurement website to encourage as many bids as possible.

“What is the basis or reasoning for placing multiple transactions with the same vendor on the same day and keeping transactions below $25,000?” asked the Sept. 26, 2012, letter signed by Representative Bill Johnson, the Ohio Republican who at the time served as the chairman of the subcommittee on oversight.

Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman, said on March 28 that the department has finished its investigation into the case and is preparing a response that should be delivered this week.

“We are not commenting regarding any actions taken until the response is issued,” Schuda said in an e-mail. She declined to say whether the individual responsible for the transactions faced disciplinary action.
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