Didn’t We Used to Call This Bribery or a Slush Fund or Something?

Money for nothing, but it surely makes for 'friendships'.

Air Force Arranged No-Work Contract: While waiting to be confirmed by the White House for a top civilian post at the Air Force last year, Charles D. Riechers was out of work and wanted a paycheck. So the Air Force helped arrange a job through an intelligence contractor that required him to do no work for the company, according to documents and interviews.

For two months, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser and received about $13,400 a month at Commonwealth Research Institute, or CRI, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pa., according to his resume. But during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

Riechers said in an interview that his interactions with Commonwealth Research were limited largely to a Christmas party, where he said he met company officials for the first time.

“I really didn't do anything for CRI,” said Riechers, now principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. “I got a paycheck from them.”

And how did Congress confirm him? Did they know about this? If not, why not?

Plus, it seems like Commonwealth is a GOP piggy bank.

Concurrent's top three executives each earn an average of $462,000. The company reported lobbying expenditures of $302,000 for the year ending in June 2006, more than double what it spent on lobbying four years earlier.

Concurrent and its subsidiaries receive grants and contracts for an eclectic variety of other activities, including support of faith-based initiatives and specialized welding work. Last year, Commonwealth Research got a $45 million sole-source arrangement to provide reports to the National Security Agency, CIA and other intelligence agencies.

It's a charity, it pays folks big bucks, and it lobbies too. And it's rewarded for all this with money from the black (secret) budget, plus 'faith-based' money which we know is a cover for the GOP feeding its base.

Speaking of which, is there any chance that a Democratic administration will cut off this 'faith-based' funding or will the GOP machine still be at the federal trough?

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4 Responses to Didn’t We Used to Call This Bribery or a Slush Fund or Something?

  1. Steve says:

    Anyone who has waited for a security clearance to come through has experienced a similar “no work” contract.

    Government service, unfortunately, is rife with stories like these.

  2. michael says:

    I will bet that the circumstances you are thinking of are very different from these facts.

    I’m sure it’s often true that if you have a government job and need a clearance, then the government pays you to do something else while you wait (it’s their fault you’re waiting).

    And I’m sure it’s often true that if you have a private sector job and need a clearance, the firm will often pay you to do something else while you wait (if you leave, they have to start all over with the clearances).

    And I even know of cases where appointees awaiting Senate approval got a recess appointment, or even a temporary government job “advising” the agency they are going to run.

    But I’ll bet it is very rare (it better be rare) for someone with the prospect of a government job — much less the high ranking sort that requires Congressional approval — to get private sector money while waiting to hear if they are confirmed.

  3. Steve says:

    Michael sez: “I will bet that the circumstances you are thinking of are very different from these facts.”

    Well, sort of and sort of not.

    While the hed on the story says “Air Force Arranged No-Work Contract“, in the second graf, we find

    But during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

    so he actually was doing work, just not for the company which was paying him.

    It does strike me as somewhat unfair to keep someone hanging without a paycheck while waiting for a possibly undetermined time for a job to come through.

    Would you do it or would you try to come up with some sort of fiddle on the books to keep some money coming in?

    I’ve seen things like this happen in academia, as well. Sometimes when someone cannot be paid directly because of some random bureaucratic rule or because it would reduce their benefits, the money is sent to one account, which pays for some graduate student which the researcher would otherwise pay from a different account, and the person that the third party wants to pay but can’t gets paid from the researcher’s main grant.

    Bureaucratically “iffy” perhaps but the work gets done and everyone is happy.

    In the grand scheme of things to get upset about in this Administration, this story is waaaaaaay down in the minutae.

  4. Joe says:

    If we, as citizens of this republic, turn away from the felonious fraud in this transaction, then we deserve the bad things that follow.

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