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Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
Topic - Scott Amey
When White House officials announced Joseph Hezir's nomination to oversee finances at the Department of Energy in October, they pointed first to his research work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Strong Castle, a company headed by a former military prep-school student who never served in the armed forces, won Internal Revenue Service contracts potentially worth more than $500 million reserved for companies owned by disabled veterans.
As lawmakers take up austerity measures and the Defense Department and other agencies grapple with difficult budget choices, some contracting companies that derive their income entirely from the federal government have grown increasingly fat.
The D.C. Council chairman will hold a hearing to look into concerns about the legitimacy of a contract award to overhaul a troubled city-owned hospital before a Feb. 19 vote on the deal.
General Services Administration officials have been quick to point out that they are taking strong disciplinary action against those responsible for a lavish $823,000 Las Vegas conference funded by taxpayers that featured a red-carpet party, magic shows and in-room parties.
The D.C. Public Library system's chief business officer quietly resigned from his $164,500-a-year job last summer, but quickly won a no-bid contract that pays him the same amount of money for many of the same responsibilities — including helping to manage the library contracts office.
Though President Obama enacted new revolving-door ethics rules soon after taking office requiring a two-year "cooling off" period for appointees leaving the government, those regulations apply only to incoming appointees.
President Obama's pick to help oversee U.S. export controls for the Commerce Department is a lawyer and political supporter who has been providing export advice to Fortune 500 companies such as arms manufacturer Raytheon and aerospace giant Boeing.
"If that's the case, I would be concerned that any real or apparent conflicts of interest would hinder his ability to serve taxpayers effectively."
"Depending on his former clients, Mr. Wolf might have to recuse himself from many job duties and responsibilities in which they are involved," said Scott Amey, general counsel for the nonpartisan Project On Government Oversight.