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Waxman Seeks GSA Chief's Testimony

Lurita A. Doan, head of the General Services Administration, at an Environmental Protection Agency event in Denver with EPA chief Stephen L. Johnson, left, and Mayor John Hickenlooper.
Lurita A. Doan, head of the General Services Administration, at an Environmental Protection Agency event in Denver with EPA chief Stephen L. Johnson, left, and Mayor John Hickenlooper. (By David Zalubowski -- Associated Press)

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By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Scott Higham
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A powerful House committee chairman released new details yesterday about a widening investigation into allegations of "improper conduct" by the chief of the U.S. General Services Administration.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), head of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said his investigators had obtained information that raises "further questions" about GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan's efforts to give a no-bid job to a longtime friend and professional associate.

Waxman also revealed new allegations that Doan "asked GSA officials in a January teleconference how the agency could be used to help Republican candidates," in possible violation of federal law.

He invited Doan to testify before his panel on March 20.

"You should be a model for integrity in contracting," Waxman said in his 10-page letter to Doan. "For this reason, I want to give you a chance to respond to allegations of improper conduct that have surfaced recently."

The GSA released a statement yesterday on Doan's behalf:

"The Administrator looks forward to meeting with Chairman Waxman and his committee on the 20th to discuss GSA. As always, GSA will cooperate fully with the committee. It is inappropriate, however, for GSA to comment further on the upcoming Congressional hearing."

In the letter, Waxman said his investigators learned that the GSA's former chief counsel "was alarmed" that the $20,000 job Doan had given on July 25 to companies run by her friend Edie Fraser had not been put out for bidding. The job was to produce a 24-page report on the GSA's use of minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

Alan R. Swendiman, now a special assistant to President Bush, stated to committee investigators "that he had never seen any GSA administrator personally award a contract, that it was highly irregular, and that he had serious concerns about its propriety and legality."

Waxman's letter follows a January report in The Washington Post that described the no-bid arrangement and Doan's ongoing disputes with her agency's inspector general's office. As GSA head, Doan presides over the government's largest broker of goods and services, which manages $56 billion in contracts.

The no-bid arrangement was terminated on Aug. 4 after GSA lawyers and other agency officials noted that it violated procurement rules.

Waxman's committee launched its investigation in January. Investigators obtained documents showing that the relationship between Doan and Fraser was more involved than previously known.


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