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DOJ OIG Releases Report on the Community Relations Service’s Contracting Activities

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report on the Community Relations Service’s (CRS) contracting activities. CRS’s mission is to help resolve conflict by engaging communities in difficult conversations through peaceful dialogue. This audit focused on certain CRS contracts totaling over $31 million that were intended to help support CRS’s mission and involved human capital services, training support services, and a case management system.

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified several areas of non-compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and DOJ requirements, including acquisition planning, market research, whistleblower protections, and contract oversight.

The OIG’s findings included the following:

  • Acquisition Process and Whistleblower Notification Clause: We found that CRS did not complete and/or document written acquisition plans or market research, as required by the FAR. In addition, CRS did not ensure the required whistleblower notification clause was inserted into the appropriate contracts.
  • Contract Administration and Oversight Responsibilities: We determined that CRS’s Contracting Officer’s Representatives were not certified and were not always properly designated prior to performing contract-related duties. We also identified issues concerning the adequacy of CRS’s invoice review process, including untimely payments and the approval of invoices with excessive labor hours that appeared to be unreasonable. We further found that CRS directed a contractor to make certain purchases that were not tied to a specific contract deliverable or work requirement.

The DOJ OIG made 4 recommendations to improve CRS’s administration and oversight of contracts. CRS agreed with all 4 recommendations.

Several of the deficiencies identified in this audit reflect concerns the OIG highlighted in two DOJ-wide management advisory memoranda concerning DOJ’s: (1) contract administration and (2) compliance with laws and regulations to ensure that employees of contracting companies are notified of their whistleblower rights and protections.

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