THE BLOG
10/20/2011 05:44 pm ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

Bad Pennies and Louis Berger Group

Who says the U.S. government doesn't have a sense of humor, not to mention irony? Proof that it does can be seen in a recent, if little noted contract awarded to the Louis Berger Group, which is an international consulting firm of approximately 3,000 employees around the world who provide diverse multidisciplinary expertise including engineering, program and construction management and economic development services.

LB is not a small fish in the private military contracting pond. The recent final report (PDF) of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan identified it as one of 22 individually identifiable contractors that received at least a billion dollars each and account for 52 percent of contract awards from FY 2002 to FY 2011.

Louis Berger is also well known for problems executing past contracts. For example, According to Slate, in

November 2010, the Louis Berger Group agreed to a $69 million settlement after allegedly overcharging USAID by $15 million to $20 million over 10 years for development projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan. Two former executives went to prison for fraud. Yet the settlement allowed the company to continue to working on government contracts.

This was despite a 2009 report by USAID's inspector general that "urged USAID to make more use of its powers to suspend (cut off funds to an organization temporarily) and debar (cut them off permanently)."

However, that was then and this is now. And like a bad penny, Louis Berger Group keeps turning up to get new contracts. Or perhaps the government simply considers it to be one of those corporations that are too big to fail. Anyway, the contract was awarded by the Department of Justice's Justice Management Division. The contract is to support Division's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT).

Contractor personnel will furnish administrative, logistical, professional, and technical labor, supplies, equipment, facilities, and materials necessary to perform the required functions consistent with applicable policies, regulations, procedures, business practices, and protocols that define the OPDAT operational environment.

...

On September 29, 2011, ContractDJJ12-C-2242 was awarded to The Louis Berger Group (Louis Berger), 250 23rdStreet, NW, Washington, DC, 20037 This contract will provide worldwide support services for the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training(OPDAT) of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division.

The contract includes a base period of performance of one year with four additional periods of one year each for a total period of performance of five years. Total value of the contract is $41,895,464.

Of course, on the premise that you need a criminal to help fight criminality, who better than a corporation that has actually been prosecuted for fraud to help future prosecutions?