If Barack Obama thought the nomination nightmare would end soon, an FBI raid today extended and deepened the REM cycle. Obama announced the appointment of Vivek Kundra as the Chief Information Officer of the Obama White House last week, but today Kundra has search warrants rather than Google searches on his mind:
Federal agents this morning are searching the Judiciary Square office of Washington, D.C.’s Chief Technology Officer.
The search is part of “an ongoing investigation,” said a spokeswoman for the FBI’s D.C. Field Office, Lindsay Gotwin, said. She declined to comment further.
The outgoing Chief Technology Officer, Vivek Kundra, was appointed last week Chief Information Officer by the Obama administration.
Obama has nominated a number of people with tax problems and conflicts of interest that floated to the surface after their appointments were publicly announced. He has lost three Cabinet appointments, two to tax problems, and his Chief Performance Officer, Nancy Killefer, over her tax issues. The raid on the DC CTO’s office will confirm again the impression that Team Obama has a real problem in vetting potential appointments.
So far, nothing is known of the investigation or the potential charges. More will undoubtedly be forthcoming, and none of it will reflect well on the White House. Didn’t they bother to check with their own Department of Justice in vetting Kundra?
Update: The Washington Post reports that the FBI conducted a bribery sting and arrested one of Kundar’s aides:
An official in the D.C. government’s office of the chief technology officer has been arrested in a federal bribery sting, according to law enforcement sources. The FBI has raided the technology office this morning and agents are continuing to search for evidence, sources said.
Yusuf Acar, 40, was taken into custody this morning by FBI agents at his home in Northwest Washington, the sources said. The nature of the charges could not be determined. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on the arrest, saying the case “is under seal.”
Federal authorities this morning arrested a second person, Sushil Bansal, 41, of Fairfax County, in the sting operation this morning. According to his company’s website, Bansal used to work in the D.C. government and later founded Advanced Integrated Technologies Corporation, an information technology consulting firm based in the District. That company has several contracts with D.C. government agencies, including the technology office and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Last August, he was awarded the Association of Indians in America’s Entrepenuer of the Year Award.
Wow. Acar had an annual salary of over $127,000, which apparently isn’t enough to keep officials from taking bribes in DC. What would Acar have done for people to offer him bribes in the first place? How far up the ladder would this corruption go? I imagine the Senate will be wondering the same thing, or at least some members of it.
I give Kundar until Friday to withdraw. Bets?