Auditors Question $464,000 in Payments to Ex-Congresswoman

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 04:02 PM

 

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A former Republican congresswoman was paid almost a half-million dollars by four U.S. Energy Department laboratories for work that government auditors were unable to verify was performed.

Heather Wilson and Company LLC received about $464,000 mostly from contractor-run Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, the department’s Inspector General Gregory Friedman said today in the report. The contractors, which weren’t able to provide evidence of the firm’s work, have reimbursed the U.S. about $442,000, the report said.

“We were unable to verify that all agreed-to services had been provided” by Wilson’s firm, Friedman said in the report.

Wilson, 52, represented New Mexico in the U.S. House for a decade before making unsuccessful runs for the Senate in 2008 and last year.

Friedman said his review “identified serious concerns with the administration and management” of the contracts the laboratories had with Wilson’s firm.

“The report confirms that the labs were satisfied with my work,” Wilson said in a separate statement. “The work was done in full compliance with the contracts we signed and under the direct supervision of lab sponsors.”

Sandia, which is managed by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., also had Wilson lobby for more intelligence and defense work for the lab, an apparent violation of the original contract terms, the inspector general said.

Intelligence, Defense

Wilson said she advised the labs on intelligence and cyber issues. “I have always supported the good work of our national labs and will continue to do so,” she said in the statement.

From January 2009 when her term ended through March 2011, the month she announced her recent Senate campaign, Sandia authorized 23 payments for $226,378 without documenting the work of Wilson’s firm, the IG said. Los Alamos paid Wilson $195,718 without having “detailed invoices,” the report found.

The Nevada National Security Site and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee paid Wilson $30,000.

Wilson, now president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, lost the Senate race last year to Representative Martin Heinrich, a Democrat.

The inspector general report said managers at the laboratories generally agreed to the recommendations and are implementing fixes.


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