IG faults Doan's handling of sole-source deal

GSA Administrator Lurita Doan may have violated federal ethics and procurement regulations by trying to give a friend a $20,000 no-bid contract , according to a March 19 report from General Services Administration's inspector general.

“Doan’s conduct in this matter may indicate possible violations of federal ethics regulations for failing to act impartially and creating the appearance of providing preferential treatment,” the report states. “Her conduct also may indicate possible violations of federal procurement regulations requiring competition in the award of contracts.”

In the end, the $20,000 contract was not awarded and Doan has said that she made a mistake.

Doan and Edie Fraser, president and chief executive officer of Public Affairs Group (PAG), a public relations firm, to whom Doan tried to award the sole-source contract, were friends, and Doan’s actions “suggest that an appearance of impropriety,” according to the IG report, a copy of which was obtained by Federal Computer Week. 

The report adds that their relationship, coupled with the contract, “suggests that the administrator contacted PAG…based on ‘personal preference.’” Other firms could have provided the work, and the facts show no sign of urgency, the report states.

The basis for the IG’s investigation stemmed from documents provided by anonymous sources indicating that Doan, who does not have a contracting warrant, awarded a sole-source contract to Fraser, the report states. The focus of the IG’s investigation was the $20,000 contract, according to the report.

Doan is also alleged to have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits politicization of government property, and intervened in a contract with Sun Microsystems, but this report did not address those issues.

The investigation confirmed that Doan personally awarded the contract to Fraser on her own initiative and without consulting contracting or legal professionals, according to the report.

The Washington Post reported April 24 that the White House was reviewing this IG report as the controversy surrounding Doan attracts more attention. Two senators on April 24 called for her resignation as administrator, saying she had a pattern of “ethical lapses” that could not be ignored.

Doan testified March 28 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She said she had made mistakes but there was no wrongdoing.

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