Justice Department investigating contract rigging at USAID

Raj Shah, administrator of USAID Raj Shah, administrator of USAID Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Justice Department is investigating possible contract rigging at the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the Associated Press.

Justice is looking into whether former USAID general counsel Lisa Gomer tampered with a bidding process to allow David Ostermeyer, the agency’s former chief financial officer, to win a contract.  Justice also is investigating whether USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg may have interfered with an investigation by the agency’s inspector general, AP reported, based on memos it obtained.

In November, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, sent a letter to USAID administrator Raj Shah detailing their concerns about the case.

"If the solicitation was in fact designed for Ostermeyer to win, Ms. Gomer and USAID may have violated various federal laws, the Federal Acquisition Regulation and government ethics policies," Issa and Chaffetz wrote.

A representative for USAID told the Washington Post that the inspector general’s investigation was “unimpeded” and that the agency “supports the important role that the USAID inspector general plays to combat waste, fraud and abuse.”

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