Critics: Contractors part of “shadow government”

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Screenshot from OTI website

USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives spent $237,165,675 on personal service contracts from 2016 to 2018. (See full list of contractors).

Some critics say such contracts are difficult to trace and form part of a “shadow government.”

OTI has operated in Cuba as part of U.S. government efforts to weaken the socialist government and speed the transition to democracy. (See “Another window of opportunity for OTI?“).

Among the contractors working on the Cuba effort has been a man alternately identified as F. Xavier Utset, F. Utset and Francisco Utset. OTI has paid him $350,000 of a contract worth up to $649,984 and scheduled to end on Feb. 23, 2018, records show.

Web page out of order.

OTI’s web page showing the nations where the agency works was out of order earlier today.

In July 2017, the Fiscal Times described the personal services contract as “one that makes contractor personnel appear to be government employees when in fact they are not.”

The Government Accountability Office reported in 2017:

Contractors hired under personal services contracts operate like government employees. The federal government reported spending about $1.5 billion on personal services contracts for FYs 2011-2015. The Air Force, Army, Navy, and USAID together were responsible for most of this reported spending.

We found that USAID spent over $123 million on these contracts in FY 2015. However, we could not confirm how much DOD spent on them because the Air Force and Army did not record these contracts accurately in federal databases.

The Fiscal Times reported:

These employees are part of what some view as a “shadow government.” They provide important health care, technical, internet, and logistical services to the military and other agencies. However, for the most part, they are invisible to the public and congressional overseers.
In 2015, then-Rep. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.) asked the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine how many contractor employees were in the federal government. CBO surprisingly responded that “Regrettably, CBO is unaware of any comprehensive information about the size of the federal government’s contracted workforce.”

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