Message from the Inspector General
I am pleased to submit to Congress our Semiannual Report for the period of April 1, 2023, through September 30, 2023.
Health and safety in federal buildings remains an important focus of our work. We issued a memo alerting GSA that, over a period of just 5 weeks, elevated levels of Legionella bacteria—which can cause a fatal pneumonia—were detected in water at six GSA-controlled buildings nationwide. The number of contaminations over various geographically dispersed buildings, in such a short time, reveals the potential for a wide-scale problem warranting immediate action. We also issued an audit report showing that the agency is facing challenges in meeting indoor air-quality standards in federal buildings, risking the exposure of building occupants to airborne viruses, including COVID-19.
During this period, we continued to scrutinize GSA’s $40 billion Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) procurement program. Our auditors found that GSA’s evaluation of its Transactional Data Reporting pilot for MAS contracts wrongly portrayed the pilot as a success. Despite GSA’s assertions, the data collected through the pilot has never been used to analyze and negotiate contract-level pricing. Instead, GSA has amassed a collection of data that is almost entirely inaccurate, unreliable, and unusable. Another audit found MAS contracts offered prohibited Chinese-made telecom devices, putting federal agencies at risk of unauthorized surveillance by foreign adversaries.
In the law enforcement arena, our investigators delivered many notable outcomes, including an investigation that resulted in three government contractors and a lobbyist being convicted for their involvement in a set-aside contract fraud scheme. They were ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution. Another investigation found a company president falsely represented to federal agencies that his company manufactured security cameras and other electronics in the United States when, in fact, they were made by Chinese companies. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered, along with his company, to pay more than $2 million in fines and restitution. In another case, we found that a Tampa man fraudulently used the account information for several GSA government purchase cards—as well as other credit cards belonging to multiple people—to make more than $150,000 in illicit purchases. He was sentenced to more than 70 months in prison.
I am honored to be leading this dedicated team of professionals in our important oversight endeavors and we all deeply appreciate the ongoing support of Congress and GSA management.
Robert C. Erickson
Acting Inspector General
September 30, 2023