Grassley to GSA: Nix Sun deal

Vendor refuses to provide audit information

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked the General Services Administration Administrator Lurita Doan to cancel its controversial Multiple Award Contract with Sun Microsystems.

During the last several months, Grassley has been pushing GSA and Sun to address his concerns over the vendor's pricing strategy. The senator believes the vendor is not giving government customers its lowest pricing as required by its GSA Schedule contract. According to GSA's inspector general, Sun has overcharged the government by more than $25 million.

But despite the pressure, the company has not provided information for an audit the senator requested, even after requests by a GSA contract officer and Inspector General Brian Miller, according to the senator. Sun also has not provided Grassley's office with its plan for bringing its pricing strategy back into compliance.

"Quite frankly, Administrator Doan, I do not understand why Sun would refuse to cooperate fully with this audit," he wrote in an Aug. 24 letter. He questioned why Sun is refusing to hand over contract information and open its books for inspection.

"It makes me wonder: Does Sun have something to hide?" he wrote.

Sun supplied more information on Aug. 20. Although the new material is still under review, Grassley believe it lacks complete sales data and has no information on the plan.

Grassley is especially concerned about the plan, writing that it was a major determining factor in the awarding of a contract extension to Sun.

"If Sun is failing to comply with the terms of the contract, then I respectfully request that you consider initiating the cancellation of the contract as recommended by the Inspector General," Grassley wrote.

Grassley and Sun's chairman, Scott McNealy, exchanged letters in July. Both want to reach a reasonable examination of Sun's GSA Multiple Award Schedule contract, especially its Price Reduction Clause.

"We share the same goal of a fair and transparent process," McNealy wrote to Grassley on July 25. "Our only dispute is over how to get there."

McNealy wrote that Sun believes Miller and his auditors "have a significant and well-documented conflict of interest and a demonstrated predisposition" against the company, and has asked that a third party conduct the audit. Grassley disagrees.

Matthew Weigelt writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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