Justice fails to flag contractors with a criminal history

Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. and  Susan Collins, R-Maine, have written to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding solutions. Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have written to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding solutions. Charles Dharapak/AP

The Justice Department is not fulfilling its requirement to update procurement databases with information on contractors with a history of criminal activity, the department’s inspector general has found.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has neglected its responsibility to obtain and update databases with contractors “convicted of fraud or any other felony arising out of a contract with the Department of Defense” or involved in drug trafficking, according to the IG. The bureau also failed in its statutory requirement to train U.S. attorneys to use these databases, the report said.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and ranking member Susan Collins, R-Maine, , have written to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding solutions to these problems, according to Federal News Radio.

"When Congress establishes a bright line test for keeping taxpayer dollars out of the hands of those who have demonstrated their untrustworthiness, it is unacceptable for money to continue to flow to those who have been convicted," the lawmakers wrote.

They went on to say Holder should create a specific plan to fix the problems outlined in the inspector general’s report and hold monthly briefings with committee staff to track the progress of this plan.

The auditors made 21 recommendations in their report -- including short-term suggestions such as fixing the current databases, as well as long-term changes to ensure all Justice offices understand their obligation to send the appropriate files to BJA. The Office of Justice Programs agreed with these suggestions and pledged to fix the issues.

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