Everyone has business development expenses. You know — taking a potential client out to lunch, playing a round of golf with someone you wouldn’t normally spend your free time with — anything to get the job done.

Here in Washington we have a different, more direct way of sealing the deal. Or so it seems.

Big Six accounting and consulting firm Ernst and Young had a financial advisory contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Naturally enough, Ernst and Young wanted this contract renewed. No problem — they made a $132,000 donation to the Clinton campaign and less than a month later — presto — they had a $20 million contract extension. Career contracting officers within HUD objected to the deal but they were, of course, just ignored.

What a deal! Even the cheapskates behind The Outrage would spend $132,000 to make $20 million. (Of course they wouldn’t spend it on salaries for incredibly gifted and talented writers, but that’s another outrageous story.)

HUD has a big budget, and they’ve got far more than a measly $20 million to toss around. In fact, according to a draft report by HUD’s own Inspector General, the infamous agency has wasted hundreds of millions of your tax dollars.

Where did the money go? Into the coffers of Lockheed Martin, Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan, and 35 other needy companies. These companies also did their share to fatten the coffers of the powers-that-be inside the Beltway.

How does HUD waste so much money? Well, they just never get around to checking their bills. The report found about 4,800 contracts that had not been audited. 129 contracts with total costs of over $900 million have been completed but never audited. Some of these contracts have been awaiting audit since 1989.

The Inspector General’s report says HUD’s “Contracting managers have for all practical purposes abdicated their procurement and contract-oversight responsibilities.”

(Source: Washington Times.)

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