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.


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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.

Idiot. All she had to say was “being run like the Clinton Crime Syndicate” and she’d still have a client …

ShainS on January 21, 2016 at 7:28 PM

waste, fraud and abuse continues unabated.

CoffeeLover on January 21, 2016 at 7:34 PM

The best argument against big government is the practitioners of big government.

rbj on January 21, 2016 at 7:42 PM

Another tree falls in the forest. Lol…..

Indiana Jim on January 21, 2016 at 7:45 PM

The Clinton Foundation is in the mix, somewhere.

vnvet on January 21, 2016 at 7:51 PM

Why does CNN and these Liberals appear so upset over this? I personally know entire families who are generational fraudulent Welfare recipients. I personally know people who are defrauding Disability and food stamps.

And CNN is getting their panties in a wad over this?

Kanga on January 21, 2016 at 7:53 PM

AbilityOne Staff Directory: http://www.abilityone.gov/commission/commission_staff.html#

Interesting blend of Social Justice Warriors, retired military procurers, Veterans Administration cast-offs, community activists and progressive back-scratchers. None however, with any practical experience in job securement, training or working with the disabled.

Typical government picks to run a disabled jobs program.

AppraisHer on January 21, 2016 at 7:55 PM

DOJ is too busy investigating alleged Civil Rights violations by police.

GarandFan on January 21, 2016 at 8:00 PM

2.3 billion contract- means they were skimming 75-125 million a year.

Thanks, ApraiseHer

Lord Whorfin on January 21, 2016 at 8:25 PM

All government, to some degree, runs like the mafia.

Mimzey on January 21, 2016 at 8:39 PM

$2.3 billion,chump change these days.

docflash on January 21, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Big government leads to big fraud.
No surprise.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 21, 2016 at 9:21 PM

She could not speak up. Attorney client privilege. Unless she knew of an on going illegal scheme. If she did than she was obligated to withdraw from representation, but still couldn’t speak up.

ArthurMachado on January 21, 2016 at 10:36 PM

The best argument against big government is the practitioners of big government.

rbj on January 21, 2016 at 7:42 PM

Indeed.
Unfortunately, the people in big government are also in charge of shutting down the arguments.

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 11:02 PM

Constitutional Amendment;
NO One drawing a Federal Paycheck shall have ANY relative (wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, nephew, niece, cousin – up to fourth remove; also drawing same.
Anyone cashing a paycheck drawn on the US Treasury who knowingly violates this restriction, and the Federal employee – hired or elected – responsible for their hiring, shall suffer death by strangulation.

Such an amendment would cut the federal payroll by 50%, minimum.

thelastminstrel on January 22, 2016 at 3:59 AM

perhaps we might make some headway against corruption by the power elite in Washington

Sorry, but we won’t make any headway on that until some people start doing serious prison time, or there begin to be extremely personal and dire bodily consequences to gov’t corruptocrats involved in these things. Without that, there will be NO headway.

GWB on January 22, 2016 at 11:04 AM

RE: kanga
Unless or until you report these individuals YOU are part of the problem.

Von Kleist on January 22, 2016 at 12:36 PM

Wow… Seems I’ve heard this story before….

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/02/corrupt_el_paso_charity_boss_e.html

EL PASO, Texas — The former CEO of an El Paso charity has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $65 million for embezzling government funds and corrupting elected officials, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo ordered 65-year-old Robert E. “Bob” Jones to pay the money in restitution to his victims.

Jones was a key subject in an investigative news series in The Oregonian during 2006, which exposed problems with the government’s biggest employment program for Americans with severe disabilities.

2nd Ammendment Mother on January 22, 2016 at 1:20 PM

I work for an AbilityOne affiliated nonprofit. Since we are not part of any insidermafiacorruptionwhatever, we can hope to benefit from things getting cleaned up. On the other hand, the main people pushing lawsuits and so forth against SourceAmerica are a scumbag lawsuit mill outfit. It’s quite possible this whole thing is backed by the Small Business Administration so as to try to cut down AbilityOne and open up more contracting dollars for their constituents.

Best case, we get some more contracts, worst case, AbilityOne goes down and we need a new business model. That, however, would take an act of Congress, so no worries.

Correction: it used to be that an act of Congress was required; in this modern age, maybe the President can just do whatever he feels like.

Xasprtr on January 22, 2016 at 1:45 PM

This is only happening because abilitone is a private organization. The entire federal mafia deserves the same treatment, but then it is crooks investigating and prosecuting (dream on!) crooks.

It might happen if Trump is president, but it will never happen any other way.

earlgrey on January 22, 2016 at 1:49 PM

Somebody ought to look into Bender Consulting Services which is another organization that finds work for the severely disabled for federal agencies. I am sure there is fraud there too.

Conservative Samizdat on January 22, 2016 at 5:37 PM

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.

The entire Obama administration is the all-time biggest case of corruption and cronyism in U.S. history.

Nearly every agency run by Obamacrats has multiple cases of corruption and cronyism which are as bad or worse than the subject of the narrow CNN investigation. Of special note are Justice, HHS, IRS, State Department, Homeland Security, FBI, and Treasury.

landlines on January 23, 2016 at 1:45 AM