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Federal CIO Kundra Takes Leave of Absence After Woes 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-can-only-end-well dept.
CWmike writes "The fallout from Thursday's arrests of a District of Columbia IT security official and contractor quickly raised questions about the fate of Vivek Kundra, the new federal CIO who until recently ran the office now mired in bribery allegations. Appointed by President Barack Obama as CIO less than two weeks ago, Kundra was CTO for the District of Columbia. But yesterday, Kundra's former office in a downtown government building was a crime scene. A White House official, speaking on background, confirmed today that Kundra took a leave of absence from his new CIO job shortly after federal investigators arrested two men in the DC government office on bribery charges. The official would not elaborate on the reasons for the leave; there were no indications yesterday that Kundra was involved in any wrongdoing. Kundra's decision could slow his plan to create a 'revolution' in the federal government's use of technology."
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Federal CIO Kundra Takes Leave of Absence After Woes

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:07PM (#27188539)

    Is this Change or Hope ?

    • by icebike (68054) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:48PM (#27188897)

      Yes, its change. No tax issues here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think it's change, cuz this level of corruption in such a young administration is unprecedented.

      Believe it!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DarkTempes (822722)

        This isn't corruption in Obama's administration (yet). It is corruption (an employee scam) in the D.C. government administration that was there before Obama came into office and which Obama's man was CTO of before becoming CIO.

        The President's administration != local D.C. government.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          Oh really?

          Yes, the corruption Kundra was potentially involved in was when he worked for DC.

          But how else can you describe what's going on with all of Obama's political nominees, and the games he's been playing with special interest groups and organizations, other than "corruption"? Cronyism? That's corruption too, buddy - the only reason it doesn't necessarily apply is because Obama wasn't buddy-buddy with these people before the election. It's partisan demagoguery.

      • by Sj0 (472011)

        Where the FUCK was your high-minded outrage when the CIA under the Bush administration was sending Canadian, Italian, and Swedish citizens to Syria and other nations to be tortured for months?

        What's that? You're a partisan hack? Oh, nevermind then.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Just because he points out that all of Obama's friends worthy of a government position under him is either tax cheat or corrupt in some way does not mean he didn't appose another wrong under another administration.

          In fact, it appears that you may be suggesting that it's OK for Obama to be surrounded by criminals because someone else did something wrong. Is this the modern version of Clinton did it?

          • by Sj0 (472011)

            I'm suggesting that these people are partisan hacks who will ignore horrible things when it's "their team", but suddenly find their voice when something significantly less dodgy comes about.

            I don't give a fuck about your corrupt politicians. I DO give a fuck that you might grab me without a court order and throw me on a plane to Syria if I visit your country, with the full support of the president.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      This is the "Change" phase of the Obama Presidency. Expect it to last until things can't get any worse.

      The "Hope" stage comes in about 3 years when primary candidates for the next election start to show their heads, or when things get so bad that hope is all we'll have left - whichever comes first.

  • They should have gone with someone with a cooler name. Like Padmasree Warrior [businessweek.com] her name kick's Wolf Blitzer's name any day of the week and she's better looking too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Slumdog (1460213)

      They should have gone with someone with a cooler name. Like Padmasree Warrior [businessweek.com] her name kick's Wolf Blitzer's name any day of the week and she's better looking too.

      In Sanskrit-derived hindi, Vivek means "wisdom". Obviously you're proposing we discard brains for brawn.

      • In Sanskrit-derived hindi, Vivek means "wisdom". Obviously you're proposing we discard brains for brawn.

        Seems his name was given in jest given his current predicament, eh?
        The meaning of her name in hindi, on other hand, is at least plausible.

    • Bah. You Americans and your weak names. We Germans got "Oberst Sturmhart Eisenkeil" (Colonel Stormhard Ironwedge). Now THAT is a name!

      I lost the source, but here is the quote I saved:

      During my service in the German army I came across an Oberst Sturmhard Eisenkeil - which literally means as much as "Colonel Stormhard Ironwedge". What's so special about him is his first name... it's not just your average "Max", but it's as if his parents were trying to make up a name that sounds as militaristic as possible. I know that if should I ever write a WWII story the main protagonists will be called Oberst Sturmhard Eisenkeil and Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster... I also know an Oberfeldwebel Killermannn in person, who would make a good henchman for the evil Oberst.

    • Like Padmasree Warrior her name kick's Wolf Blitzer's name any day of the week and she's better looking too.

      Hah, those names are nothing compared to a Dikshit. Nobody will face up to one of them...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Dikshit [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandeep_Dikshit [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anurag_Dikshit [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:18PM (#27188661)

    Looks like Obama's plan for catching all the crooks is by appointing them to political office and let the approval process catch them.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Obama: I have this great idea. I'm going to have a Cabinet that's free and clear of corruption!

      Aide: Ummm... Mr. President? About that. We might have a problem coming up with a list of Candidates...

  • Confused (Score:5, Funny)

    by bonch (38532) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:21PM (#27188685)

    I'm confused. I thought the government under Obama was going to be made of rainbows and kittens glued together with hope. Are you telling me Obama's administration is as corrupt as any other but also has a one-party supermajority Congress and a cheerleading media backing it? Sweet...what a change!

    • Re:Confused (Score:5, Funny)

      by IonOtter (629215) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:31PM (#27188763) Homepage

      Are you telling me Obama's administration is as corrupt as any other...

      Not quite?

      If it were, we wouldn't be finding out about this corruption until two years into their term, just like any other democrat. (Republicans don't get exposed until after they leave office, or piss off too many constituents.)

      So yes, this IS a very big change from the way things used to be.

      • Re:Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

        by caladine (1290184) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:55PM (#27188971)

        Are you telling me Obama's administration is as corrupt as any other...

        Not quite?

        If it were, we wouldn't be finding out about this corruption until two years into their term, just like any other democrat. (Republicans don't get exposed until after they leave office, or piss off too many constituents.)

        So yes, this IS a very big change from the way things used to be.

        The only completely inexplicable "change" here is that people don't really seem to care about the obvious amount of corruption and just plain incompetence going around. How many of his cabinet picks inexplicably can't fill out their taxes properly? I don't know about you, but it doesn't give me any confidence when the treasury secretary can't even do his taxes right. This is the guy we're trusting to fix the banking mess?

        While it's nice to see this stuff doesn't come out years after it happens (Oh wait, most of the tax problems were years old, and only corrected a short time before confirmations. Hell, Daschle knew about his tax problems early last year but didn't come clean until he was tapped for the cabinet.), but that doesn't give them the pass on screwing up that they're getting.

        No matter the race, creed, or political party, they're dirty. The only change we're getting is how this crap is presented.

        • Re:Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

          by moosesocks (264553) on Friday March 13, 2009 @10:10PM (#27189765) Homepage

          I don't know about you, but it doesn't give me any confidence when the treasury secretary can't even do his taxes right.

          I hate to sound like a shill for Obama, but the focus of this whole ordeal did bother me somewhat for the simple reason that it actually did sound somewhat plausible that he was confused by the tax code.

          Have you ever tried to do your own taxes....unassisted? The American tax code is an absolute nightmare at the present.

          I'm not sure that a flat tax or the FairTax proposal are good options. However, this is a debate we need to be having at the forefront. Our financial system is being dramatically reshaped, and it's about time that we addressed our massively bloated tax code. Make it simple, and it'll be far easier to audit and enforce.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Late Adopter (1492849)
            Taxes are like an MMORPG: sure you can solo, but it's better if you play with someone who know's what he's doing. Then if you understand the rules well enough you can win some rewards, though they're paid in in-game money and never seem like a drop in the bucket compared to your subscription fees.

            And the rules are always changing, supposedly to "balance" the classes, but it just makes the game harder for everyone. And then every 4-8 years there's an expansion pack that inevitably nerfs one of the class
          • by Tarwn (458323)

            I used to do my taxes myself every year, then along came websites that can do it for me (I'm lazy).

            This is what I see:
            We have a treasury secretary who found the tax code confusing and, instead of seeking assistance (like a paid professional) he dumped the whole thing in a dark corner somewhere and refused to face it.

            Between the tactical error of dumping into the dark corner and the inability to either request assistance or improve his knowledge I don't think I'd even want to hire him to manage a local fast

          • Check out the APT Tax [apttax.com]. Not sure how feasible it is, but it's an intriguing idea.

          • Have you ever tried to do your own taxes....unassisted? The American tax code is an absolute nightmare at the present.

            I used to handwrite my tax forms. It's really not that hard if you track stuff properly during the year and have a reference for the current code.

            Here's the thing though. Geitner is supposed to be the best of the best, the smartest financial guy out there and he can't do his taxes? No, he was clearly avoiding paying his taxes. I wonder how many people are sitting jail for doing what he d

        • but it doesn't give me any confidence when the treasury secretary can't even do his taxes right. This is the guy we're trusting to fix the banking mess?

          Uh, you missed the boat on that one. The reason you should have no confidence is that he heads the IRS, because the IRS is an agency within the Treasury.

        • by Dripdry (1062282)

          How many executives or busy professionals do you know?
          Ok.
          Now, how many of those people do their own taxes?
          My bet is "none", given my experience with those types of people (I manage their finances).

          None of these people knew about what was wrong with their taxes until they got reamed. I'm sure their CPA is looking for work now.

        • I don't know about you, but it doesn't give me any confidence when the treasury secretary can't even do his taxes right.

          It would give me confidence. Someone who has experience with the fact that lax law is massively overcomplicated, in a position to do something about it. Most potential candidates will simply pay an accountant to sort out their taxes and so won't be aware of how complex the process is (it isn't, if you've got enough money to make the problem go away).

      • Re:Confused (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jlarocco (851450) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:59PM (#27188999) Homepage

        If it were, we wouldn't be finding out about this corruption until two years into their term, just like any other democrat.

        Actually, I think you're wrong. He's appointing people *SO* corrupt they can't even hide it until two years into their term. And that's with a majority in congress and a "cheerleading media". I cringe to think of what's actually getting through while everyone focus on these blatant cases.

        • You are probably right in this case, because I don't think he has made any real changes with regard to transparency in this particular process. But I guess one thing to keep in mind going forward is that if you shine a light on the floor, you're going to see some roaches. But that doesn't mean the roaches weren't always there.

        • by lawpoop (604919)

          He's appointing people *SO* corrupt they can't even hide it until two years into their term

          Yeah right. All these governors, etc that he's appointing are *so* corrupt, and nobody finds out about it until they're appointed to the Obama cabinet. These people don't come out of nowhere into the Obama cabinet.

          If you really want to see a cheerleading media, look back at the past 8 years. Now the media is actually doing their job, investigating, and asking tough questions of people who do get appointed.

      • Of course, it depends on who is doing the ratting.

        If the party in power was doing investigations to rat-out corruption, it's called being vigilant and good. If the minority power was conducting investigations, it's called a witch hunt.

        -

        Context sure makes it funny.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        The only reason we're finding out about the corruption in Obama's administration right now (and I'd personally not call it 'corruption' so much as "a complete lack of sound judgment, character assessment or common sense") is because the they've been so damn incompetent in keeping it hidden, not because it's less corrupt.

    • The chief difference here appears to be that this President isn't handwaving away all concerns and going, despite all the evidence to the contrary, "No you can't go. You're my right hand."

      • by bonch (38532)

        This President is too busy being "overwhelmed," according to his people.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:55PM (#27188963) Journal

      I thought the government under Obama was going to be made of rainbows and kittens glued together with hope. Are you telling me Obama's administration is as corrupt as any other but also has a one-party supermajority Congress and a cheerleading media backing it?

      He's a successful politician from the Chicago machine, which makes Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall look like minor pranks on a boy scout campout. What did you expect?

      *I* expect ongoing machine corruption scaled up to the national level, culminating in something to dwarf the Teapot Dome scandal and any corruption in any other administration since than (including the Clinton and both Bush administrations).

      But then I've dealt with Chicago politics a little bit... (Thank Murphy I've never had to live there.)

      • ... culminating in something to dwarf the Teapot Dome scandal ...

        (And yes I do know that Harding was a Republican and Teapot Dome was related to cronyism with, and bribery from, buddies in the oil industry and would thus have been a more resonant example if I were decrying possible corruption in a Bush administration. But I'm more concerned with magnitude than particulars here.)

    • by Shivetya (243324)

      starting to sound more like Ninjas and Pirates...

      I honestly don't see how anyone can take his "change" seriously with so many past Clinton officials on his staff and in key positions. His whole administration has been screaming "beltway" and "politics as usual" way too often. I was willing to give the guy a chance; didn't vote for him or McCain; but damn he just has a stink about him of Washington.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:35PM (#27188807) Journal
    Sure, one of his direct reports ran ghost employees and kickback schemes for five years. But there is no evidence Kundra knew about it. Surely nobody expects the a state CIO to get involved in every petty detail.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:46PM (#27188885)

      As a contractor/associate of other contractors in the past with DC govt, I can assure you he is an a-hole, corrupt, and lacks the intelligence and qualifications necessary for the position. In his defense, you can say this about pretty much anyone in DC govt.

      I can only hope this helps bring him down. His own employees seem to loathe him. Ultimately, as the CIO he is supposed to take responsibility for his underlings. He may not have been guilty, but he is ultimately responsible for the office and everything that happens, particular at a high level like contracting.

    • isn't exactly a petty detail. Granted I don't hold a lofty title like CIO but I damn well know what all my directs are doing. If I didn't I would not hold down the job I do. I even have to keep tabs on what the other guys outside of my direct control are up to. Plus some of what his directs are accused of isn't exactly something that just goes by without some questions arising somewhere down the line.

      You also don't take leaves of absence. Just what in the hell is wrong with Obama's vetting process?

  • Hmmmm. I voted against the neo-cons because of their total corruption and incompetence, as well as a very visible desire to destroy America. At this time, the dems appear to be heading in the same way with corruption.
    • Re:Richardson (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Toonol (1057698) on Friday March 13, 2009 @08:06PM (#27189075)
      This may be modded redundant, because it gets said in nearly every political thread at Slashdot... but it is a very important point:

      Democrats and Republicans ARE BOTH TERRIBLE.

      Not based on ideology, really. You may find more to agree with in one party platform or another. But rest assured, the politician does NOT adhere to the party platform because of any actual conviction. When it is politically more profitable to betray it, they will. I'm 90% conservative, but would prefer an honest Democrat over a corrupt Republican. It's a moot point, though, because they're both rotten to the core.

      There may be some exceptions. It would have been interesting to see if Ron Paul would have stuck to his guns. Those exceptions are few and far between, though, and tend to get weeded out long before they run for president.
      • Well, I voted for Ron the first time around. In fact, up until 2000, I had not voted dem or pub (save a couple of local pols). BUT, we could not afford to have another W get in. I had some issues with McCain, but somewhat considered him. That was gone once he picked the ultimate neo-con as running mate.

        I am STILL hopeful that Obama is an honest pol. BUT as I look at all the ppl that he has put around himself, they appear to be as corrupt as any neo-con. The question is, are they more competent. That remai
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Well, I voted for Ron the first time around.

          He's a good protest vote. Some of his ideas are, frankly, very poorly informed, but he's at least earnest if not super informed or educated on many subjects.

          BUT, we could not afford to have another W get in.

          This is why we need electoral reform.

          I had some issues with McCain, but somewhat considered him. That was gone once he picked the ultimate neo-con as running mate.

          Yeah, that was some really lousy strategy. He had a shot, but he needed to appeal to moderates in the center. It's not like the far right wasn't going to vote for him anyway simply to stop Obama who they perceive as a threat. Palin did exactly the opposite. It did not get him any real new votes and drove away all the

          • This is why we need electoral reform.

            You'd do well to look at the French system for inspiration. The winner has to get more than 50% to win. If no one does in the first round, then candidates are eliminated and another election is held the following weekend. This lets means that you can vote for outliers in the first round because doing so is a vote against the other candidates.

            • You'd do well to look at the French system for inspiration.

              Yes. Condorcet seems like the most fair and useful, even more so than instant runoff.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by sinai (989310)
            Regarding your statement that Ron Paul's views are uninformed, can you provide any examples? He was just on CNN last night utterly refuting [youtube.com] high-school graduate turned C-list actor Stephen Baldwin's spewing of the same tired and weak apologies for the (failed) War on Drugs and flawed logic behind the Fed's continuing criminalization of the use of marijuana, sometimes in bold defiance of State law already in place. Uninformed you say? Please inform us then! For those of you who are actually sick enough
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jlarocco (851450)

      Why do you think the "neo-cons" were trying to "destroy America"?

      If anything it would seem the problem was that they were so gung-ho about protecting America that they just started making shit up.

      • by lymond01 (314120)

        This is a pretty good point. Neo-cons are out to keep America on top economically and militarily at whatever the cost. There's nothing that keeps other countries in check like a nuclear weapon owning country who will attack other countries for no valid reason. Iraq was a big "Don't mess with us cuz we crrrazy!" message.

        Of course, it didn't work. But the intentions were noble. :-)

        • LOL. That was as good when a hard core republican that I know who LOVED AND LIVED reagan claimed one month ago that reagan and W were "fucking pussy liberals". He acknowleges now, that both were bad for America. But he still thinks that Romney and Palin would be perfect (even though Palin is the total clone of reagan and W). I will be curious to hear what he says IFF Obama and his dems turn this economy in the first year.
          • by jlarocco (851450)

            The problem with Reagan and Bush is that they didn't really practice what they preached. There are two sides to "Lower taxes and smaller government" and they only did one of them.

            Second, fixing the economy isn't really the government's job. They just shouldn't be screwing with it. In fact, it's probably only as bad as it is because the government was interfering with it so much in the first place.

            The truth is that the economy will go back up despite the damage Bush and Obama have done with their stu

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by WindBourne (631190)
              The problem with Reagan and Bush is that they didn't really practice what they preached. There are two sides to "Lower taxes and smaller government" and they only did one of them.
              Actually, both of them never kept a single promise. BOTH grew gov like there was no tomorrow. And as to lower taxes combined with no deficit, well, that is well known. Taxes actually ended up higher in total under reagan, just shifted off his buddies. Though W did lower taxes a bit ( more on his buddies), but made reagan's #1 def
              • by jcr (53032)

                IFF Obama focus on getting the economy GOING, and once going focuses on balancing the budget with a balanced budget amendment ( the anti-neo-con or anti-republican amendment), he will be one of my hero's.

                And if he flapped his arms and flew to the moon, I'd be similarly surprised.

                Obama is bought and paid for. It's why he voted for the Bush/Paulson bailout, it's why he appointed a bankster from the New York Federal Reserve Bank to run the Treasury department, and it's why he pushed so hard for the porkulus b

                • by Sj0 (472011)

                  History still says Obama has a much greater chance of being fiscally prudent than a similar Republican president.

                  The number 1 and number 2 biggest spenders and debtmongers since the end of WWII were George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Had he continued to an 8 year term, the Republicans would have a hattrick.

                  So where does your faith in the Republicans come from? They haven't been fiscally conservative as long as most of us have been alive. They've been consistently worse than the Democrats for half a century.

                  • by jcr (53032)

                    So where does your faith in the Republicans come from?

                    My what?

                    You don't know me very well, it seems.

                    -jcr

                    • by Sj0 (472011)

                      You must have faith in the Republicans, just as you don't walk into a bear cage without having faith in the bear.

                      Empirical data tells me that so-called "liberals" are the best bet for a balance budget. Data from two countries over over 25 years shows that they will balance the budget, while so-called "conservatives" will break said budget.

                    • by jcr (53032)

                      You must have faith in the Republicans

                      Nope.

                      -jcr

                    • by Sj0 (472011)

                      Shit, I re-read your comment. What was I replying to?

              • IFF Obama focus on getting the economy GOING, and once going focuses on balancing the budget with a balanced budget amendment ( the anti-neo-con or anti-republican amendment)

                ROFL, you mean that would be an anti-politician amendment. Here's the thing. Politicians want power. The quickest way to gain that power is to forcibly take your constituents money and give it to someone else. Growing the government is a power grab and balanced budgets and shrinking government do not fit in that scenario.

                The cleares

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jcr (53032)

              The problem with Reagan and Bush is that they didn't really practice what they preached.

              Speaking of practicing what they preach, remember when the Democrats wanted to take all our money and give it to poor people?

              Looting the workers to give the money to banksters is supposed to be anathema to the lefties.

              -jcr

              • That was the Democrats circa LBJ's "Great Society" in the 60s. By the 1990s, the pro-business faction was solidly in charge, culminating in 1992 when the head of the Democratic Leadership Council (the pro-business / anti-lefty caucus) won the Democratic nomination. Sort of analogous to New Labour displacing Old Labour in the UK.

      • Just to point out a few things about them:
        1. Clinton gave China MFN in 94(was it 94?). In return, China had to drop their trade barriers in 2002 AND allow their money to be freely traded. Neither has happened. Sadly, W wanted Chinas help and money so simply ignored it. In the mean time, that monitary policy has served to drain money and jobs rapidly from ALL OF the west. EU is now getting wise to it, as it Geithner/Obama.
        2. In 2002, W/Neo-cons passed law that allowed no taxes to be paid on income UNTIL it was b
      • by Dripdry (1062282)

        If you read up on neo conservative principals you will find that one of their avowed goals is to bankrupt the federal government so that large corporations will take over the fundamental social services of our lives. We're seeing the after-effects of this right now.

        Basically, they believe a small group of people is more intelligent than the masses, and those people should be running everything in order to save people from themselves. To do this, they have to concentrate as much power in the hands of the jud

      • by toddestan (632714)

        It seems to be more like they were willing to destroy America in order to save it. Things like destroying civil liberties to root out terrorists, using torture to gather intelligence, premptively attacking those that could threaten the US in the future, stuff like that. On the surface, it seemed that they meant well but were misguided in both their actions and the targets of their actions. Beneath that, it seemed they were just grabbing and abusing power for their own ends, using national security as a c

  • Here's a fact: ALL politicians are corrupt.

    Now, here's a theory of mine: Some are more corrupt that others, and there's never been an effective way to weed them out. Everyone was corrupt, that much was understood, but how badly was never clear. And it was too dangerous to try and figure it out. Just ask Paul Wellstone. [wikipedia.org] about how much luck he had with that.

    Even worse, some of those more-corrupt bastards are in your OWN party. Nominating them to any position puts you in jeopardy, and once again, your pl

  • Two things are very common for slashdot last two months - too much "ohhh how good Windows 7 will be" articles (clearly a organized propaganda using clueless Slashdot editors, but hey, it brings ads money in) and clearly too much "look, look, another *suspicious* persona appointed by eeeeeeeeevil Obama. He is eeeeevil. He is just like rest of politicians. They all are evil manipulative bastards".

    Yes, Obama is not Jesus or not perfect president either. Gosh. But he is best what we can have now. So far I have

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