GSA issues strongly worded response to senator’s criticisms

General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan has fired back in unusually strong terms at Senate Finance ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who on Wednesday accused Doan of improperly meddling in GSA contract negotiations and fabricating allegations against the agency's inspector general.

"Senator Grassley has his facts about Sun Microsystems wrong," a GSA spokeswoman said in a statement Thursday. "He uses false innuendo to impugn the motives of GSA management, and based on his statement regarding his investigation of the Sun matter, this investigation appears to be a conspiracy looking for a theory."

GSA issued its statement in response to a speech in which Grassley said an investigation by his staff showed Doan last year pressured GSA contract officers to renew an information technology contract with Sun under terms that wasted millions of dollars. Grassley also asserted Doan may have made up charges that employees under GSA Inspector General Brian Miller used aggressive tactics to intimidate contract officers and vendors.

Grassley said his charges are detailed in reports sent to the White House, GSA and oversight committees, but that proprietary issues prevented public release of the reports.

GSA said the contract was a good deal. "The Sun Microsystems contract ... is not the example of contracting irregularities that some may have hoped," the agency statement said.

Sun also issued a statement questioning Grassley's claims. The senator's office had no immediate response.

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