Video: Feds open grand-jury corruption probe into AbilityOne federal program for disabled
posted at 7:21 pm on January 21, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
A federal grand jury will begin probing “one of the most massive federal fraud cases in decades,” CNN reports, following up on their own reporting on AbilityOne. This program finds work for the severely disabled for federal agencies, and its contracts are managed by SourceAmerica. When federal contracts began going to SourceAmerica board members, the contractors who got stiffed began complaining about bid-rigging and corruption. The biggest losers, CNN reports, were the severely disabled who didn’t get the jobs created especially for them:
A federal grand jury is examining the nation’s premier program that provides work for people who are severely disabled, after a series of CNN investigative reports detailing allegations of corruption and cronyism in what sources say could be the biggest fraud case ever in a U.S. government agency.
CNN has learned government investigators have issued grand jury subpoenas as they investigate the huge taxpayer-funded program, known as AbilityOne, and specifically its managing agency, SourceAmerica.
Along with bid rigging and corruption, grand jury investigators are looking into allegations the program is operating numerous contracts illegally, and not hiring enough disabled people to fill contracts as required by law, as CNN detailed in earlier reports. …
[N]umerous sources have told CNN that SourceAmerica awards contracts unfairly, giving lucrative deals to companies with inside connections. Some SourceAmerica board members have also worked at companies that are awarded big contracts.
One such example is outlined in a lawsuit alleging bid-rigging, one of several suits filed against AbilityOne and SourceAmerica in recent years.
Let’s face it. Having your own attorneys describe your operation as “being run like the Mafia,” as SourceAmerica’s lawyer Jean Robinson was recorded as saying, looks pretty bad. Robinson got fired after referring to “the ol’ SourceAmerica Mafia,” but she also fretted over the scheme getting exposed. Perhaps she should have spoken up rather than facilitate gangster governance, eh?
What was at stake in AbilityOne? Only $2.3 billion a year in federal contracts — and the ability of the severely disabled to participate in the program designed to benefit them. Of course, that depends on the definition of “severely disabled.” According to Drew Griffin’s sources, some of the people hired in these contracts claimed that an inability to speak English qualified them as disabled. I wonder if they have placards for handicapped parking spaces …
Kudos to CNN for exposing this potential massive fraud. Now if we could only get the Department of Justice to open a grand jury probe in the massive attempt to defraud Congress and the courts by Hillary Clinton by hiding her e-mail communications, and transmitting and retaining highly classified material in the unauthorized and unsecured system, perhaps we might make some headway against corruption by the power elite in Washington.