Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, October 31, 2003  

Via Lying Media Bastards, the Center for Public Integrity has prepared a report about war contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's incredibly rich with information, most of which will align with your intuition. Some of it--especially the particulars--is surprising.

One of the more interesting Iraq contracts the Center uncovered involves a tiny firm called Sullivan Haave Associates. Sullivan Haave is actually a one-man shop run by a government consultant named Terry Sullivan. Sullivan says his firm was hired as a subcontractor by Science Applications International Corp., one of the most successful and best politically connected government contractors doing work in Iraq....

Sullivan has a much more intimate relationship with the Pentagon than his competitors, however. He happens to be married to Carol Haave, who, since November 2001, has been deputy assistant secretary of defense for security and information operations. And yes, Haave is the same person who appears in the name Sullivan Haave Associates.

Haave seemed surprised when contacted by the Center for Public Integrity at her Pentagon office about the contract.

She said she was no longer associated with the company in any way. She then said she had no knowledge of any work the company might be doing in Iraq.

There's more, including a list of contractors by contribution total which you can compare to the list of contractors by total earnings. (Surprisingly, on visual inspection, there appears to be some correlation! But remember, it's not kickback money, it's free speech.) Also, there's a history of how much government has shifted money to the private sector.

Under cost-reimbursement contracts—which one former Washington government lawyer jokingly referred to as "defraud me please" contracts—companies decide how much a service will cost to perform. These contracts are also known as "cost-plus" contracts because the contractor's profit comes from fees paid by the government beyond the cost of the service, which are calculated using one of several fee arrangements. One common arrangement is award fees, in which the contractor receives a base fee plus an additional fee based on performance. The additional fee is often calculated as a percentage—typically less than 10 percent, according to Schooner—of the service's cost. Critics say this structure gives contractors an incentive to bill the government at a premium so that they will make a correspondingly fat fee.

Good, good stuff.

posted by Jeff | 11:02 AM |
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