More outrageous tales from the State Department car dealership
: it turns out that contractor DynCorp didn't have to even prove that it in fact purchased dozens of SUVs for which it charged the government. Try to follow the money on this one
[O]ne Civilian Police task order [on which DynCorp is the contractor] included a requirement for 68 armored Ford Excursions at a fixed price of $113,064. The [State] Department was billed for 68 "armored vehicles" at a unit cost of $123,327. The property list contained 61 Ford Excursions, of which some were described as armored, others uparmored, and others had no notation of armoring. The costs shown on the property list for these 61 Ford Excursions ranged from $43,990 to $150,000 with nine at $122,190, seven with higher costs, and the remaining 45 with costs of $77,000 and below. Thus, OIG could not conclude that the 68 "armored vehicles" in the vouchers were the 68 armored Ford Excursions specified in the task order.
Let's just assume for a minute that they are. To do the math: 68 Excursions at the State Department contract's fixed unit price works out to $7,688,352. But 68 Excursions at the price DynCorp billed the department is $8,386,236. So that's an overcharge of almost $698,000. Nice.
But what the report's saying is that it has no way of knowing
if DynCorp really spent the $8,386,236. It's not easy to work out the numbers given the vague way the report describes the expenses cited on the 61 Excursions DynCorp documented. But nine Excursions at $122,190 is $1,099,710. Add another 45 at $77,000 (the maximum cited here), and that's $3,465,000. Take a conservative estimate of the remaining seven with "higher costs" than the $122,190 -- let's say $122,200, a mere $10 more. That's $855,400. Add it all up and you get in the ballpark of $5,420,110.
And that means the State Department's lax bookkeeping requirements allowed DynCorp to, potentially, pocket around (by my calculation) $2,996,126. Whether that in fact happened is unclear by definition. But what's crystal clear is that State's shoddy accounting is practically an invitation to abuse. Why not just have the State Department open its petty cash drawers and save the inspector-general's office the trouble?