The General Services Administration (GSA) hired CACI, Inc. to help the federal government suspend and debar contractors. CACI is infamous for providing some of the interrogators to the Abu Graib prison. It was subsequently considered for suspension/debarment from federal contracts itself. Senior government employees with knowledge of CACI's work told POGO that the outsourcing of these functions caused them concern. Turning this work over to CACI has potentially placed it in the extraordinary position of having unfair access to sensitive data from its competitors as well as providing the company the opportunity to undermine the standing of future competitors for government contracts.
In June 2006, GSA contracted with CACI to provide six consultants to work in GSA's Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer (OCAO). Despite GSA redaction of the contract's rates and cost, POGO's investigation shows that the contract totaled approximately $343,000 ($104 per hour totaling over $57,000 per consultant) for 3½ months of work.
"This is another example of the government being run by contractors. How can the government in good conscience include any private company into this important work, especially one so recently considered for debarment," stated Scott Amey, POGO general counsel. "The government has some real explaining to do and an investigation should start today."
In July, POGO learned that GSA had outsourced suspension and debarment work to CACI because there was a "staffing shortage." That move raised some serious concerns. First, CACI's contracting track record had it nearly banned from future contracts by GSA in 2004 for its interrogator services in Iraq.
Second, this type of work placed CACI in a position that could arguably be considered an "inherently governmental" function (as governed by FAR Subpart 7.5) that is required to be performed by civil servants rather than contractors. Specifically, the OCAO "reports directly to the GSA Administrator and is responsible for managing a broad range of acquisition activities including: ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations and policies." Suspension and debarment are contractor integrity tools that prevent irresponsible contractors from receiving future government contracts. A GSA communications officer stated to POGO in an email that the "GSA recognizes our suspension/debarment authority is indeed inherently governmental, and has retained that authority throughout this temporary measure to help us accomplish our mission." Nevertheless, GSA's email to CACI stated, "the positions require analytical skills and strong writing skills to analyze OIG recommendations for suspension/debarment and recommend and draft appropriate responses… Contractor employees will be furnished with OIG and OCAO file, checklists for review and templates for responses and will provide OCAO proposed responses for review and signature."
Third, the contract was steered without competition to CACI, which does not appear to have any experience in the suspension and debarment area. CACI was solicited for the work via an email sent from GSA on June 12, 2006, and was subsequently awarded the contract on a GSA consulting services schedule.
Although POGO did not accuse CACI of any wrongdoing, CACI sent POGO a response to our investigation. Click here for CACI’s response to POGO.