(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) decision to hire a firm accused of fraud.
“The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) decision to spend $190 million to hire the same firm that vetted and cleared NSA leaker Edward Snowden is troubling. In addition to clearing Snowden, the award recipient – the U.S. Investigations Services (USIS) LLC – is currently under federal investigation for improperly reviewing background checks in an effort to increase its revenue. Government claims that USIS is a ‘low’ risk and has ‘outstanding’ management are ludicrous. Just a month ago, the Office of Personnel and Management’s (OPM) Inspector General found that a USIS reviewer completed 15,152 background investigations reviews during a one month timeframe with most occurring within minutes of each other. The IG also found that 24 percent of the reviewers audited did not have documented proof they met the required training under their contract,” Dr. Coburn said.
When questioned by the Wall Street Journal on the decision, USCIS said that they had to award the contract to the lowest bidder. Yet, in March, the Court of Federal Claims indicated in a ruling on a protest by one of the losing bidders that USCIS’ bid was higher than at least two of the losing bidders. The opinion also notes that the contract was awarded to the bidder providing the overall “best value” to the government, and that price was actually the least important factor for deciding who won.
“The fact that a company can commit so many mistakes – including ones that jeopardize our national security – and be rewarded for their incompetence at a high price tells us yet again that our contracting system is broken,” Dr. Coburn continued. “I look forward to conducting further oversight into this important issue.”