Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sopranos running the USAF?

Remember those great episodes of The Sopranos where you had the "no-work" or "no-show" contracts on a construction site. Just hang out in the seat smoking a cigar, having a drink all while being paid full? Well, it looks like the USAF has decided to "Benchmark" that process.
While waiting to be confirmed by the White House for a top civilian post at the Air Force last year, Charles D. Riechers was out of work and wanted a paycheck. So the Air Force helped arrange a job through an intelligence contractor that required him to do no work for the company, according to documents and interviews.

For two months, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser and received about $13,400 a month at Commonwealth Research Institute, or CRI, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pa., according to his resume. But during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

Riechers said in an interview that his interactions with Commonwealth Research were limited largely to a Christmas party, where he said he met company officials for the first time.

"I really didn't do anything for CRI," said Riechers, now principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. "I got a paycheck from them."
That my friend is fraud - or at least it sounds like that outside the Beltway. People can go to jail for such things, if it is against the law in 202. It is one thing to have orders to one UIC and then go around a insufficient manning document and work in another (or like RADM Sestak, USN (Ret) cruise the p-ways of The Pentagon at 2230 for hard-working Sailors to absorb into your collective of the undead) - but this is a totally different level.
Riechers's job highlights the Pentagon's ties with Commonwealth Research and its corporate parent, which has in recent years received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of grants and contracts from the military, and more than $100 million in earmarks from lawmakers.

Commonwealth Research and its parent company, Concurrent Technologies, are registered with the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt charities, even though their primary work is for the Pentagon and other government agencies. In a recent report Concurrent, also based in Johnstown, Pa., said it was among the Defense Department's top 200 contractors, with a focus on intelligence, surveillance, force readiness and advanced materials.

Concurrent's top three executives each earn an average of $462,000. The company reported lobbying expenditures of $302,000 for the year ending in June 2006, more than double what it spent on lobbying four years earlier.
And who did they buy with that money....
But Marcus Owens, former director of the exempt organizations division at the IRS, said Concurrent and Commonwealth Research appear to be "providing the sorts of services that are commonly provided by business organizations like Boeing and Lockheed Martin and others, and not charities."

"There are a lot of businesses doing this kind of stuff that are paying taxes," said Owens, a partner at Caplin & Drysdale law firm. "It makes me wonder what the charitable purpose is here."
A leading patron of Concurrent in Congress is Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who represents the district where the company is based. Murtha, chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, announced the creation of the company in 1987.
Ungh. Well, he is sooooo clean. This is where it gets ugly.
Riechers is a decorated Air Force officer who retired in 2002. He joined SRI International, another nonprofit firm, as a senior technical adviser. From December 2002 to November 2006, he worked in a variety of Pentagon jobs while being paid by SRI International. In November, Riechers was nominated to be a senior acquisition official, taking the title last held by Darleen A. Druyun. She was sent to prison in 2004 after she left the Air Force for negotiating a job with Boeing while she worked for the government and for favoring the company in several procurement decisions.
Now, where is my favorite Proverb? Oh, here it is; Proverbs 23:11,
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
The Good Book speaks the Truth.

In the end, you cannot blame Riechers all that much. An offer was made to him that seemed normal in the swamp he lives in. Long ago that swamp needed to be drained. If we can't drain the swamp because it is part of the DC power structure, at least we can let some light in now and then to show everyone what crawls around in the ground clutter. For that, we should thank the author of the article, Robert O'Harrow Jr.

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