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Comment on the revolving door editorial

FCW's editorial in this week's issue is about the need for a certain government-industry mix.

Editorial: Information sharing [Federal Computer Week, 5.14.2007]
The government should tap industry knowledge, but it must also be wary of ethical concerns


The editorial spurred this e-mail:

In pondering your stimulating thoughts, I had these of my own:

There are far more people in government and industry who are concerned about the revolving door, compared with public interest groups--for which the issue has been a fixture for years.

That said--there is a tiny number of actual cases brought against either feds or contractors for violating conflict-of-interest regs or the statute. Druyun stands out, but I need to scratch my head to ID others. The ole Cheney charge is a juicy chestnut that's never been proven--it's more political than regulatory, and doesn't begin to touch the vast failures of oversight and contractor performance associated with Halliburton/KBR. In fact, thinking across the acquisition arena, there would have to be orders of magnitude more waste and abuse due to poor oversight and poor performance, compared with funds misused or wasted or awarded unfairly due to the revolving door. It makes you wonder how precious acquisition reform effort is distributed.

Organizational conflicts of interest are the rage, as we can see in Cong. Waxman's attempt to nail Booz Allen in his March hearing regarding SBInet. That scares more companies than personal or individual conflicts, especially firms with appreciable commercial business.

You're absolutely right that the revolving door has its good effects.
However, exchange programs are just a drop in the bucket. Note that the door rarely revolves when feds leave for greater pay--they rarely come back.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 16, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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