Trio From Hill Ask GSA Head Not to Shift Audit Burden

By Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Three federal lawmakers yesterday called on the new administrator of the General Services Administration to halt her plan to replace government auditors in the agency's inspector general's office with private auditors, saying in a letter that the change could lead to less oversight of contractors.

The letter to GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan followed a report in The Washington Post on Saturday that described Doan's plans to cut $5 million in spending on audits and shift responsibility for contract reviews to small, private contractors.

Doan, a former government contractor, recently compared GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller and his staff to terrorists, according to notes of a meeting taken by GSA officials. Doan has said vendors and government workers reported that Miller's investigators and auditors exerted "undue pressure" on them.

Yesterday, Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked Doan to provide a description of her plans and a "detailed analysis of its potential effects" before she moves forward with any changes or budget cuts that would affect the inspector general's work.

"You seem to be reversing the commitments of your predecessor, contradicting the recommendations of GAO, and tampering with a system that works well, all to alleviate the 'stress' of corporations that have attempted to overcharge the taxpayer," the letter said.

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