GSA Declares President Trump’s Hotel Lease Valid
A General Services Administration contracting officer (CO) has written a letter finding that President Donald Trump’s lease of the Old Post Office building for his new D.C. hotel is valid, despite ethical concerns raised by many Democratic lawmakers and outside experts. The letter expresses thanks to the president and his organization “for more fully explaining Tenant’s current organizational structure…[and] your willingness to enact additional changes to Tenant’s internal operating agreement.” At issue was whether the president was in violation of a clause that read: “No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom; provided, however, that this provision shall not be construed as extending to any Person who may be a shareholder or other beneficial owner of any publicly held corporation or other entity, if this Lease is for the general benefit of such corporation or other entity.” The link to the right goes to the GSA statement on the matter, where the CO’s letter is linked.
Second Border Wall RFP May Spark Interest in Architects
In a story proclaiming architects have been “gearing up” to design a border wall “for years,” GovExec reports that while an initial request for proposal (RFP) seeking a large concrete wall may not have interested architects, a second RFP calling for alternative design solutions may pique architects’ interest. Roger Maier, a spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), told the publication “Two RFPs will allow CBP to evaluate each design category independently allowing for the best concrete wall designs and the best alternative wall designs for award, construction and evaluation.”
Will the Border Wall Require Tech Task Orders?
FCW also wrote about the border wall, wondering what sort of technology may be involved in its construction. “The recently released requests for proposals for border wall prototypes don’t contain a lot of particulars about the IT infrastructure that will support them, but they left the door open for contractors to fill in details in future task orders,” reporter Mark Rockwell writes. “The additional task orders for support technology would fit with DHS and congressional calls for more technological layers to support the physical barrier.”
GSA Proposes New Cybersecurity SIN
GSA has proposed a new special item number (SIN) for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program tools to allow agencies quick access to pre-approved cybersecurity products and services. The CDM program is co-administered with the Department of Homeland Security, but the CDM blanket purchase agreement ends in August 2018. The announcement states the SIN is designed to establish a government-wide contracting solution to continue to provide a consistent set of continuous diagnostics and mitigation tools, and to enhance the ability of offerors to bring new and innovative solutions to the CDM Program.
FirstNet—the program to establish a nationwide public-safety broadband network to be used by public-safety officers at all levels of government—has announced that its board members will convene a special meeting on Wednesday, March 31. The members are expected to vote to allow AT&T to be awarded the contract to build the network.
GSA Official and Husband Plead Guilty to Fraud Scheme
Helen Renee Ballard, the former director of the Central Office Contracting Division of the General Services Administration (GSA), and her husband Robert S. Ballard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements to the United States government as part of a nepotism scheme in which they “conspired to fraudulently obtain employment from the U.S. government and private federal contractors.” According to the Department of Justice’s statement: “Renee and Steve Ballard fraudulently induced a federal contractor located in Arlington to hire Steve Ballard. The Arlington based contractor then placed Steve Ballard on a federal contract awarded by GSA and supervised by Renee Ballard. Later, Renee Ballard attempted to hire Steve Ballard for a position within GSA under her supervision.”