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Doan: Potter fan

Guess who is a fan of Harry Potter?

You guessed it -- GSA Administrator Lurita Doan. In fact, she even quoted a certain Hogwarts wizard in her testimony last week before the House Small Business Committee on post-Katrina contracts.

During that hearing, Doan touted the work that GSA has done and stressed that she is dedicated to helping small businesses.

And then there was this:

I am not going to solve this problem without your help, and I would hope that today we could begin to work together to solve this problem. We must remove all barriers that prevent opportunities being offered to small, minority, woman-owned, HUBZone and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. I no longer have any illusions about how difficult it will be.

But to quote the late, great Albus Dumbledore, "We will soon face the choice of doing what is easy or doing what is right."

That's right -- quoting the former headmaster of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who is well known to any non-muggle. (See it for yourself at the above YouTube clip. It is at the 4-minute mark, approximately. You can see the entire hearing here, if you are so inclined.)

There are several versions of this quote floating around the InterWeb. According to one source, in book four, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Dumbledore says, "We will soon face the choice of doing what is easy or doing what is right."

This site has it this way:

"Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."

And the Internet Movie Database has this:

Dumbledore: No spell can reawaken the dead, Harry. I trust you know that. Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

Eh, the essence is there, regardless.

Aside from that, it is good to see Doan out and about some. She has been keeping a low profile after a fairly high-profile spring. Of course, the president has yet to make any determination about whether the GSA administrator violated the Hatch Act, as the Office of Special Counsel determined earlier this year. Doan denies that she violated the Hatch Act and said Special Counsel Scott Bloch is a "death eater." (Just kidding. I'm sure she thought it though.)

But I think it is important that the GSA administrator be seen and heard. It is important for GSA -- and important for the procurement community overall.

The small-business issue in particular is a case in point as to how these kinds of Washington "scandals" can really impact how an agency does its job. You'll remember, after all, that Doan's first WP story was about a $20,000 no-bid contract -- a contract that was never awarded -- that would have helped GSA on its small-business contracting. As a result of that, insiders have told me that Doan was reluctant to say anything -- or do anything -- related to the small-business issue. That is despite the fact that it is an issue near and dear to her. She is a former owner of a small business, and at one point, she was vying to be administrator of the Small Business Administration.

So she gets kudos from me for re-entering the public sphere. I think it's good. And her timing isn't bad given that just about everybody is out of town this month.

On the Hatch Act front, we are checking with the White House on whether a decision has been made. I'm told by some folks that... well, there is no deadline. The president doesn't ever have to even make a decision. He can let the OSC report just sit there. I'm sure Doan would much rather have the White House quash the whole issue, of course.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Aug 08, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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