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Vivek Kundra in Charge

John on March 13, 2009 at 9:25 am

You’ve probably heard by now that the FBI raided the DC office of District of Columbia’s chief technology officer. The reason it’s a big deal is that until very recently this was the office of Vivek Kundra, the man Obama just named to be his Chief Information Officer. If you’re not familiar with the CIO postion, it includes the maintaining the security of government databases.

Hot Air has some details on what was going on in the office that attracted FBI attention:

Federal authorities said the conspiracy, which operated for at least a year, worked like this:

Acar approved work with a vendor, such as Bansal’s AITC, to arrange the purchase of goods such as software. The vendor ordered fewer items but billed the District for a larger amount. Bansal, Acar and others then split the proceeds, FBI officials said.

Acar also approved fraudulent time sheets for nonexistent employees, Sekela wrote. Acar and the others split the proceeds paid by the D.C. government, Sekela alleged.

So far, the press has been careful to note that the FBI probe is interested in Kundra’s former staff, not Kundra himself. But given what was happening under his nose, how can Vivek Kundra be qualified to maintian government security? Here’s Kundra talking about accountability and transparency in government while all this was going on under his nose (scroll to 1:10):

YouTube Preview Image

Maybe the reason they were having procurement problems was all the phantom employees?

Even more embarrasing is this speech Kundra gave on “Theft and Fraud Prevention in District Government Agencies” back in 2007 (pdf here). He says:

When it comes to HR, I believe strongly that there’s no substitute for strong management to produce success and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. I have used hiring and a few terminations to populate OCTO’s top layers with individuals who have the ability to be very strong managers. And I demand that managers manage both their programs and their employees. Their program funding and their personal salaries and promotions depend on it.

If Mr. Kundra is held to his own standard his “leave of absence” from the the CIO job will be made permanent.

[Hat tip to the inestimable Morgen for the video and the speech]

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Category: Politics |

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