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Government Your Rights Online

$2,000 Bribe Bought Password To DC P.O. System 187

Posted by timothy
from the but-what-harm-could-that-do? dept.
theodp writes "While the Administration is counting on new Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to simplify and speed the federal IT procurement process, it's doubtful he'll be able to reduce red tape to the extent that a former minion of his did at the scandal-rocked D.C. Office of the CTO. Exhibiting some truly out-of-the-box thinking, project manager Tawanna Sellmon not only processed phony invoices for the contractor at the center of the D.C. bribery and kickback scandal, she also gave him the password to the city's computerized database used to track purchase orders. Sellmon pleaded guilty last week for her role in the scam, which netted her an envelope containing $2,000 in cash, as well as an undisclosed number of $25-$100 gift cards."
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$2,000 Bribe Bought Password To DC P.O. System

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  • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:21AM (#29503635)

    "...what kind of "EEO" bullshit got "Tawanna" cushy job as a "project manager" at the DC CTO office."

    FYI, DC is a majority black city - having a black government employee there is like having a Native American employed by tribal governments. EEO would only serve to get white and hispanic applicants hired in DC.

  • Re:Nice SEO slander (Score:2, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `wttebroc'> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:30AM (#29503733) Journal

    FTFA: "Until recently, the technology office was headed by Vivek Kundra, who has taken a job as President Obama's chief information officer. A White House official confirmed last night that Kundra has taken a leave of absence. "

    Sounds like the former CTO might have more bones in his closet related to this thing than has yet been acknowledged. Why else take a leave of absence because a former employee did something shady?

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:35AM (#29503813)

    Is there a common theme for the rationalizations of mostly-law-abiding people who accept bribes?

    The government is so big that it won't matter to them? They tax me so much, they owe this to me? Everyone else does it, so I'm a chump if I'm honest?

  • by Syncerus (213609) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:57AM (#29504125)

    This article is an ideal example of a social engineering crack. Consider the comparative difficulty of a technical cracking job and compare it to the simplicity and cheapness of what actually took place. The solution was actually quite elegant in a sordid way.

    I once worked for a company that was experiencing a surge of highly organized fraud originating from Romania. Before I left, we were preparing to develop a major anti-fraud application, etc., at great expense. At one meeting I suggested that we just hire a few Romanian private detectives to knock on some doors and quietly suggest to the lowlifes that it would be healthier to leave us alone; the other people in the meeting looked at me as though I were green.

    LOL.

  • Re:Let's treat this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:16AM (#29504439)

    but the shareholders themselves (retirement funds and the like) had nothing to do with the decision.

    Bullshit. That is the copout that corporations have been using forever but there are two major and fatal problems with it: 1) shareholders choose to invest in companies and 2) they have (with any brains) the voting shares, and thus the ability to change the board of directors and with it the CEO.

    So no dice. Whining that "We didn't know that our money invested in the 'White Phosphorus Bombs R Us' will actually hurt anyone! We just looked for the 200% return!" is scoring the unscrupulous assholes no points.

    Also, the stock market is a gambling casino for those with more money then brains (now more so then ever before, where company earnings or dividends have no bearing whatsoever on share price). Retirement money does not belong there.

  • by conspirator57 (1123519) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:33AM (#29504691)

    nice theory, but i grew up in DC. yes black people can and some do discriminate against whites and other groups. heck, as old as it is, School Daze was and still is relevant vis a vis light/dark black discrimination.

    however, this is probably mostly a symptom of the society of ineptitude that is DC government. your hiring manager has to have a clue and be able to vet whether an applicant actually knows the stuff their alleged degree says they should know. that hiring manager's manager is likely a political appointee, and well, you get the idea that politics might be involved.

    i also used that experience (of having grown up in DC) to express my wish on /. that Obama choose the Cisco person rather than the DC guy with 0 clue about tech and associates and underlings of "questionable" ethics. at best our CIO is clueless about managing people, at worst he's involved in the corruption, but smarter than his underlings. the latter doesn't seem hard from the behavior this lady evidenced.

    when i was in high school in DC Public Fools^H^H^H^H^H Schools, DC got a federal grant of like $10-20million to improve school access to computers, which at the time (mid 90s) consisted primarily of private corporate charity of end of life PC ATs. The government wasted the money paying contractors to "measure the state of computer and network access in the classroom". this was something a manager with two eyes and half a brain could have done in less than a month. none of the money got spent on actually putting computers in classrooms.

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:56AM (#29505063)

    "nice theory, but i grew up in DC. yes black people can and some do discriminate against whites and other groups. heck, as old as it is, School Daze was and still is relevant vis a vis light/dark black discrimination.

    however, this is probably mostly a symptom of the society of ineptitude that is DC government. your hiring manager has to have a clue and be able to vet whether an applicant actually knows the stuff their alleged degree says they should know. that hiring manager's manager is likely a political appointee, and well, you get the idea that politics might be involved."

    You misunderstand; I was replying to an overtly racist comment suggesting that the only reason the person had the job in the first place was because she was black and an EEO program. I was pointing out that was impossible, as blacks cannot sue a majority black organization for "equal opportunity". The only people with grounds for that are minorities, which in DC means whites and hispanics. I was arguing that there was NOT racial bias in her hiring, not that there was.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:28PM (#29506299) Journal
    Every hear of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld? They got elected, killed many useful projects for our nation, and then awarded LARGE contracts to their friends (sight unseen). In addition, when ppl spoke up about, they were QUICKLY shut down. Bunny Greenhouse comes to mind. So many others who have spoken about the corruption and all were swept under the rug. Of course, we did catch a criminal who got a blow job, but that is a different issue all together.
  • Re:Let's treat this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:29PM (#29506317) Journal

    I have zero problem with executing corporations, since they aren't actually people anyway. And I think that someone who engages in this kind of government corruption (er, if the other posters saying she was duped are incorrect) being sentenced to hard labor, say... but I'd prefer the state didn't go around killing people, most especially on trumped-up charges of treason. That's too easily abused; seems like a slippery slope to tyranny.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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