House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has uncovered more potentially illegal activity by the head of the General Services Administration, Lorita Doan.
Waxman has discovered that Doan “used a January 2007 teleconference to ask senior GSA officials to help ‘our candidates’ in the next elections through targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country.” Doan discussed with GSA officials “how to exclude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from an upcoming courthouse opening in San Francisco and how to include Republican Senator Mel Martinez.” Doan’s activity is now being investigated as a potential violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan campaign activities on federal property.
Doan’s inappropriate (and potentially illegal) behavior extends beyond partisan hackery. Last summer, Doan signed a $20,000 no-bid contract for a 24-page report “promoting GSA’s use of minority- and women-owned businesses.”
Doan made the deal with a firm called Diversity Best Practices, headed by Edie Fraser. Waxman has discovered that Doan “had a long-standing business relationship with Ms. Fraser that has not been disclosed previously. Moreover, “Fraser used her professional connections to advance Doan’s nomination to GSA and to provide personal favors, and…Ms. Fraser continued to provide services with the expectation of payment to Ms. Doan after she became GSA Administrator.”
Waxman released an email from Fraser to Doan on 9/6/06:
Lurita, I will do anything for you and will do for the rest of my life… But I have spent so much time at GSA from the report planning to these sessions with ZERO $$. How do we solve
Fraser’s $20,000 contract was eventually canceled because, at the time, GSA contracts worth more than $2,500 had to be competitively bid. But Doan wouldn’t go down without a fight. According to Waxman, Doan pushed her staff “behind the scenes to find a way to award the contract to Ms. Fraser,” even suggesting “that if GSA were to make the contract available through a competitive bid, Ms. Fraser could write the ‘Statement of Work’ describing the award for which her company would be competing.”