Obama appointee takes leave after raid

posted at 9:31 am on March 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the FBI raided the offices of Vivek Kundra, Barack Obama’s appointee as Chief Information Officer for his administration, in a bribery sting that netted two arrests, including one of Kundra’s top aides.  Kundra has apparently decided to spend some time with his family, as the White House announced that he would take a leave of absence from the job he just started:

An aide to President Barack Obama is on leave from his White House job after the FBI raided his old District of Columbia government office Thursday, arresting a city employee and a technology consultant on corruption charges, a White House official said.

The charges were lodged against the two men at a federal court hearing as the FBI finished searching the city’s technology office, which was led until recently by Obama’s new computer chief, Vivek Kundra.

Kundra is on leave from his White House job until further details of the case become known, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the official did not want to publicly discuss personnel matters.

The Washington Post also reports (oddly, in its Metro section) that the probe involved “ghost workers” and kickbacks for contracts.  While Kundra so far has not been named as a target in the probe, one has to wonder how the man who runs an agency can be ignorant of “ghost workers”:

Federal authorities said the conspiracy, which operated for at least a year, worked like this:

Acar approved work with a vendor, such as Bansal’s AITC, to arrange the purchase of goods such as software. The vendor ordered fewer items but billed the District for a larger amount. Bansal, Acar and others then split the proceeds, FBI officials said.

Acar also approved fraudulent time sheets for nonexistent employees, Sekela wrote. Acar and the others split the proceeds paid by the D.C. government, Sekela alleged.

Authorities traced more than $200,000 in payments last year from Bansal’s firm to a private company, Circle Networks Inc. The firm is co-owned by Acar, even though he is prohibited from having an interest in any company doing business with the city, Sekela wrote. Circle Networks generated about $2.2 million in revenue through D.C. government contracts, the agent wrote.

Again, Kundra himself hasn’t been implicated in wrongdoing, but it does raise the question of exactly what Kundra did as the head of DC’s technology office.  Acar worked as Kundra’s aide, and at best one can say that Acar managed to run this ring right under Kundra’s nose.  Kundra had to approve, explicitly or tacitly, the payroll for the agency, which employed less than 300 people. Any competent chief executive of a firm that size would know how many employees worked for him and how much they cost; in fact, it would be one of the primary issues on their agenda.

And what happened to auditors?  Government agencies are supposed to audit their records to keep them accountable.  Washington DC is accountable directly to Congress and is run out of the federal system.  Presumably, Kundra would work with auditors and the Inspector General to maintain accountability.  Either Kundra dropped the ball here, too, or Congress needs to look into the system to find out what went wrong.

The best we can say about Vivek Kundra in this episode is that he’s incompetent as an executive, which thus far puts him at the same level of accomplishment as the man who hired him to work in the White House.


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Comment pages: 1 2

WOW hell i wish i could do this..
Take bribes
Be a traitor
then when the FBI shows up
get a heads up from the white house
and take a paid leave of absense in cuba..

Sheesh sounds like the job description for a liberal reporter..

I want this opportunity
Remember hope n change,…

Yea a change of scenery right into the slammer..

obama == corruption on a whole new level
now all of congress is corrupt

I say its time to march on washington dc and ARREST them ALL.

jcila on March 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

I think Kundra and his family are now on the same African safari that Rahm Emanuel took in January.

PatMac on March 13, 2009 at 1:39 PM

Is there anyone in Obama’s so-called cabinet that is competent to do anything?

They’re very good at propelling their candidate to an office in which he is completely unqualified to serve. Not everyone can do that.

Is there any democrat in DC who is not corrupt?

No. Democrat politicians are by rule required to be corrupt. Otherwise, it makes the others look bad.

Is there any MSM members in DC who are not in the tank for the libs?

No and hopefully there are some (figurative) anti-tank missiles out there.

NoDonkey on March 13, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Name: Vivek Kundra
Age: 32
Born: I was born in New Delhi , India. I moved to Tanzania at the age of one and lived there until I moved to Gaithersburg, MD at the age of 11.
Current Digs: Washington , DC
Occupation: Chief Technology Officer, Washington, DC
Favorite part about the job: The ability affect public policy in a substantive way
First job ever? Worked as a telemarketer
Favorite book? Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Favorite movie? Sholay
Must-see TV? 24, Law and Order, Three’s Company, Meet the Press
Comfort food? Plums
What’s in your car CD player right now? Hotel Costes
Next journey? Sydney, Australia
Last gift you received? A mug that my six-year-old niece in California made for me
Whom do you admire and why? Mahatma Gandhi – he held no formal office, title, or property, yet was one of the most potent political forces in the last century
Best advice you ever got? Free yourself to do the right thing
If you could have dinner with any one currently living, whom would it be and why? Bill Gates. In 30 years he not only created a whole new industry, but is transforming public health and education. From global health to education he is successfully tackling some of the world’s toughest problems!
One thing most people might be surprised to learn about you? My first language was Swahili; I moved to the US in 1985 and took ESL until 9th grade.
Ambition, political or otherwise? To affect change as a public servant

TheBigOldDog on March 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Three’s Company? With Chrissy, Jack and Janet? Now that’s strange behavior!

PatMac on March 13, 2009 at 1:46 PM

The Washington Post also reports (oddly, in its Metro section)***

This way it didn’t go past the political editor or the national editor.

burt on March 13, 2009 at 4:44 PM

“Acar also told the informant that he could use computers to create fake D.C. birth certificates, Hibarger said.”

Who else do you suppose he created birth certificates for?

djl130 on March 13, 2009 at 9:34 PM

another administration foctard

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on March 14, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Vivek Kundra, Barack Obama’s appointee as Chief Information Officer to Obama:

Sir! They are getting closer!

DannoJyd on March 14, 2009 at 12:22 PM

This may turn out to be the most corrupt administration since Grant.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 14, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Comment pages: 1 2