Friday federal headlines – June 14, 2013

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The General Services Administration has a new boss at its Office of Governmentwide Policy. Anne Rung will take over Monday from Kathleen Turco, who is moving to the Department of Veterans Affairs as its chief financial officer. Rung was brought in last year by acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini to be GSA’s chief acquisition officer. She’ll keep that title. Tangherlini also promoted another ally. He named Betsaida Alcantara as the new associate administrator for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She arrived at GSA last year from the EPA, where she was press secretary. (Federal News Radio)
  • A major defense contractor is paying the government nearly $12 million to settle claims of overbilling. The lawsuit accuses Science Applications International Corporation, better known as SAIC, of inflating the costs of a homeland security program it has run for 15 years. The program trains firefighters, police and other first responders to deal with emergencies involving explosives. A former employee brought the suit, alleging the company used part-time workers do run the program but billed the government for more expensive, full-time staff. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Where’s Waldo quality of the Edward Snowden affair jumped to the United Kingdom. The British government told airlines around the world not to let Snowden board a flight bound for England. He’s not allowed in that country. Snowden is the ex-CIA and ex-Booz Allen Hamilton employee who leaked secret information about two government electronic surveillance programs. He fled to Hong Kong, but his current whereabouts are not widely known. Snowden is an American citizen. He has not been charged with a crime, nor has any country issued a warrant for his arrest. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Archives has launched a website to let more people read the papers of the nation’s founders. Appropriately called Founders Online, the site includes nearly 120,000 documents: letters, diary entries and other writing from Ben Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. The Archives has partnered with the University of Virginia on the site. They say the papers are searchable by title or topic. (White House)
  • Lawmakers are trying again to help the Postal Service climb out of the red. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has drafted new legislation that would let the cash-strapped agency end Saturday mail delivery. It also would relax a requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund health care for future retirees. The agency defaulted twice on those payments last year, to a tune of $11 billion. Issa’s counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), says his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will try for a bipartisan bill in the coming weeks. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Government Accountability Office has completed its own TechStat-style review of the TechStat sessions. It found they don’t take place often enough, and there isn’t enough follow-through on the ones that do occur. TechStats are detailed reviews of risky information technology investments. They were initiated by the Office of Management and Budget early in the Obama administration. GAO looked at a sample of TechStats done by four agencies. It found less savings than agencies claimed. And it says there are many risky investments that have yet to undergo a TechStat. OMB hasn’t yet commented on the report. (GAO)
  • The Chicago-Kent College of Law has gone where no law school as gone before. It’s put 58 years of Supreme Court audio recordings online. Each piece of sound is linked to a scrolling transcript of what the Justices are saying. The project is called the Oyez Project, named for the syllables intoned by the marshall at the opening of each annual session. Until now, the recordings had been sitting for decades at the National Archives warehouse in Maryland. It would take a year and a half of continuous listening to hear all 14,000 hours of tape. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Internal Revenue Service is shutting down offices today to save money in light of sequestration. It’s the second all-staff furlough day. The agency says: don’t expect any work to be done, but some online services will remain available to the public. Meanwhile, Congress continues to scrutinize the beleaguered agency. Reuters reports congressional investigators want to speak with as many as 20 more people about the agency’s targeting of conservative political groups that applied for tax-exempt status. IRS lawyer Carter Hull meets with congressional staff today. He has been accused of controlling the questionable practice. (IRS/Reuters)