Ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had spent about $12 million in private consultants’ fees in an attempt to restructure his department, Politico is reporting.
In some cases. consultants charged the State Department more than $300 an hour to work on his "Redesign" initiative as Tillerson sought to make the agency leaner, cheaper and more modernized, according to Politico.
About 90 consultants worked on the project, Politico said, citing documents it obtained. The consulting firm Deloitte received most of the money under a pre-existing federal contract. The ceiling of the contract was increased to $265 million.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for hearings on how the money was spent.
"I believe we must look into how taxpayer money was spent on this botched project and will continue to call for the committee to examine these issues in open hearings in the near future," he said.
Menendez also criticized the State Department for a "lack of transparency."
Some congressional lawmakers had been trying for months to learn details of the department’s efforts to redesign.
In December, 10 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded Tillerson explain his plan to restructure the agency, saying he was making changes "largely behind closed doors."
But now congressional aides and former State Department officials said the expenditures accomplished little, if anything, Politico reported.
And they noted Tillerson could have easily looked to public sources for help and not spent tax dollars.
The officials said that a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Department Review (QDDR), launched under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suggested ways to streamline workloads and improve technology.
"You had years of blueprints for reform developed internally, two QDDR documents, and thousands of career officers and civil servants who crave change and reform and would’ve been thrilled to work on this effort at no added taxpayer expense," a former senior State Department official told Politico.
"Instead, they chose to lavish money on contractors and consultants who knew nothing about the organization."
Politico said Deloitte referred questions to the Statement Department. A department spokesperson said the redesign has addressed "long-needed efforts to improve the department’s IT infrastructure, enhance the use of data analytics to support decision making, and strengthen leadership at all levels in the organization."
Tillerson was fired on March 13 by President Donald Trump.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.