Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – May 26th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Schenkel will become the acting deputy assistant secretary for state and local law enforcement. The Federal Protective Service has been slammed for lax oversight and training of the almost 15,000 security guards it employs under contract. At one point, government auditors smuggled bomb-making parts through security checkpoints in 10 large federal buildings.

  • New language in the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill would cap the number of parking spaces at the Washington Headquarters Service Facility in Alexandria at a thousand spaces. Rep. Jim Moran cites a VDOT projection that there will be – in the agency’s words – “complete gridlock” in the area of the Mark Center, even with the current transportation management plan. BRAC requires 6,400 defense personnel to move to the new Mark Center facility by September 2011. The number of parking spots would be capped at 1,000.
  • The Congresswoman for Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties says she just wants her district to get its fair share. Representative Donna Edwards says the General Services Administration shows D.C. and Virginia preferential treatment when it comes to leasing federal office space. Developers have filed protests over a GSA search for more than a million square feet of space for the Department of Homeland Security. They allege that GSA seems to favor a site in DC. The Gazette reports that developers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have been questioning GSA’s process for deciding who gets the leases.
  • Minerals Management Service employees in Louisiana accepted gifts from oil and gas companies, used illegal drugs, and watched porn on government computers. Those revelations came in a new Interior Department Inspector General report issued yesterday. They echo similar charges two years ago about employees in a Colorado office of MMS. The agency is under scrutiny for its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to the latest report, employees of the Lake Charles, Louisiana district office accepted golf trips and sporting event tickets from the companies, according to e-mails from 2005 to 2007.
  • Federal agencies spend billions each year through interagency and enterprisewide contracts, but how sure can you be that money is effective? Auditors for the Government Accountabilty Office say they’ve found poor management and oversight of those contracts. The report released on Monday finds that perceived growth in the number of contracts and duplication may be hurting how effective they are in saving money and improving efficiency. Agencies spent at least $60 billion dollars in 2008.
  • A federal contractor, EMC, has paid the government $87.5 to settle a lawsuit alleging it violated the False Claims and Anti-kickback Acts. Justice Department says the computer company overcharged GSA agency customers.
  • The administration plans to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexican border. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been calling for a boost in manpower there, to help suppress violence from the drug war. The troops will work on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. And they’ll provide training and support to block drug trafficking until Customs and Border Protection can recruit and train additional officers and agents. The White House will also ask for $500 million for law enforcement activities at the border.
  • Lax enforcement by Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service allowed grisly conditions at puppy mills to flourish, according to a new USDA inspector general report. Investigators said the service, which is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, ignored repeat violations, waived penalties and failed to document inhumane treatment of dogs. In one case in Oklahoma, the IG said, 27 dogs died at facility inspectors had visited several times and cited for violations.

  • More news links

    House panel tells Army to renegotiate integration contract with Boeing (NextGov)

    AP source: USDA offers discrimination settlement

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    Proposal to lift ban on gays in military in doubt

    Space shuttle Atlantis aims for morning touchdown

    Shuttles for sale: Less than 130 million miles, new paint (CNN)

    INFLUENCE GAME: Govt regulators hired by companies

    From the Don’t Do That files: Guilty plea by trucker who viewed porn pre-crash

    THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

    Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

    ** We’re going to talk to a NASA scientist who is literally helping people see. His work to prevent and care care for cataracts scored him as a finalist for the SAMMIES and we’ll talk to him.

    ** We’ve been asking whether there are too many government contracts out there. GAO has been asking that question too — and we’ll get an update.

    ** And what’s a disruptathon? We’ll tell you.

    Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.