OFPP's Safavian arrested for obstructing GSA investigation, making false statements

Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator David Safavian

David Safavian, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, today was arrested at his home in Alexandria, Va., on charges of obstructing a federal investigation and making false statements under oath, the FBI confirmed.

Safavian is under investigation for his work while chief of staff at the General Services Administration, the agency said in a press release.

He resigned from OFPP Friday, sources confirmed.

An attempt to reach Safavian at home was unsuccessful. OMB referred all calls to the Justice Department.

In the press release, Justice said Safavian allegedly made false statements to both GSA's ethics officer and the agency's inspector general and obstructed the IG's investigation.

While serving as GSA's chief of staff from May 2002 to January 2004, Safavian allegedly aided Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff in acquiring GSA-controlled property in and around the District of Columbia. The Justice Department said the lobbyist, who they would not name, took Safavian and others on a golf trip to Scotland in August 2002.

Safavian told the GSA ethics office and the IG that Abramoff had no business with GSA prior to the August 2002 golf trip. But Justice is investigating whether Safavian concealed the fact that Abramoff had prior business with GSA before the golf trip, and that he was aiding Abramoff in his attempts to do business with GSA.

GSA spokeswoman MaryAlice Johnson would not comment on the matter, referring all calls to the Justice Department. Jack Lebo, GSA's inspector general, also would not comment, saying it was an ongoing investigation, and also referred all questions to Justice.

The U.S. Attorney's Office fraud section and its public integrity section are prosecuting the case.

Abramoff has lobbied for American Indian tribes and gaming interests and has been accused by Senate investigators of laundering money.

Safavian left GSA to become OFPP administrator in January 2004, but wasn't confirmed until November. Prior to his work at GSA, Safavian worked for two congressmen and ran his own telecommunications consulting firm, Janus-Merritt Strategies LLC of Washington.

Safavian earned a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Louis University and a law degree from Michigan State University's Detroit College of Law. He also received a master's degree in tax law from Georgetown University.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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