Officials at the Internal Revenue Service spent a large amount of time trudging up to Capitol Hill in 2014 so that various Republican committee chairmen in the House of Representatives could berate them over the targeting of some conservative not for profits in the run-up to the 2012 election. It seems likely they’d have preferred to fly under lawmakers’ radar in the 114th Congress.
If that’s what they wanted, spending more than $4.5 million to hire the same contractor that botched the rollout of the Healthcare.gov website in 2013 probably wasn’t the best move. Hiring CGI Federal to provide “critical functions” related to the further implementation of the Affordable Care Actc was practically asking for a congressional investigation.
On Friday, Rep. Pete Roskam (R-IL), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee’s Oversight panel, did what any self-respecting Republican in his place would do. He sent an incredulous-sounding letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen asking what, exactly, the agency was thinking.
“As you know, in January 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services fired CGI Federal after its disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.gov website,” Roskam wrote. “Shortly thereafter, Massachusetts followed suit, firing CGI for its poor performance developing the state health exchange website. Governor Deval Patrick called CGI Federal a ‘disappointing partner.’ In August 2014, Vermont also fired CGI Federal for its ‘unacceptable’ work creating its state exchange website. I am concerned that just months after the HHS and Massachusetts firings, the IRS selected the same contractor to provide critical technology services related to the administration of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
Roskam demanded that the IRS provide his subcommittee with the contract between the agency and CGI Federal, as well as the bids submitted by competitors, and the agency’s statement of the requirements for granting the contract.
He also asked for “a description of when and how the IRS decided to hire CGI Federal, including the names of all IRS personnel involved in the decision-making process and a description of their roles in the process; all internal communications, including, but not limited to, e-mail correspondence and memoranda, regarding the IRS’s decision to hire CGI Federal; and a description of the controls the IRS has in place for this project to ensure that the problems associated with Healthcare.gov and the state exchange websites do not arise with this project.”
Republicans in Congress have been starving the IRS of resources for years, and in a statement separate from the letter, Roskam suggested that moves like the hiring of CGI Federal justify the funding cuts.
“The American people should know why the IRS spent millions of taxpayer dollars to hire the same company responsible for the botched Healthcare.gov rollout. From an agency clamoring for more funding, this isn’t a confidence-inspiring use of resources.”
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