DHS Questioned about Contract to Background Check Firm

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

ESR News BlogRepresentative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) have written a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson asking for an explanation about the awarding of a $190 million contract to a background check firm accused of “alleged fraudulent activity” with investigations in the past, according to a Federal News Radio report available at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/473/3664684/Congressmen-demand-answers-from-DHS-over-new-USIS-contract.

Federal News Radio reports Representative Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Coburn, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, want to know whether the history of US Investigations Services LLC (USIS) was considered before the DHS awarded the company a new contract to provide field office support to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In the letter, the congressmen write that the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires the DHS to ensure contractors have a “satisfactory performance record” and a “satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics” when choosing contract awardees. Coburn and Cummings want to know how the DHS concluded USIS met the requirements after “alleged fraudulent activity” took place over four years during a contract agreement that USIS had with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Federal News Radio reports the Justice Department filed a civil complaint against USIS in January 2014 for allegedly “dumping” at least 665,000 background investigations. Coburn and Cummings want to see documents related to the DHS decision process of reviewing the past performance of USIS as a government contractor before July 21 and expect DHS staff to appear for a briefing the week of July 28. A copy of the letter from Representative Cummings and Senator Coburn is available here.

Link to Letter: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/uploads/2014-07-17%20Cummings-Coburn%20to%20DHS-USIS%20Contract%20%283%29.pdf

Related ESR News Blog: DHS Awards $190 Million Contract to Background Check Firm