Spring is nearly here, and it looks like a bit of spring cleaning will begin soon at the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCTO). According to the Washington Post, last Thursday Yusuf Acar, the District's acting chief security officer, was charged with bribery in a kickback scheme to bill the District government for products and services that were not delivered. Sushil Bansal, the owner of Advanced Integrated Technologies, was also charged in the crimes. These arrests are part of an ongoing investigion by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
This alleged corruption is a body blow to DC's progress in cleaning up its act and to Mayor Fenty's aspirations to make bold progress on the challenges facing the nation's capital. The city cannot afford to waste money and precious time with so many urgent public priorities.
The entire nation will watch to see how the DC and Federal governments respond. Both Mayor Fenty and President Obama have the opportunity to raise the standard for government contracting. By acting decisively to eliminate the revolving door in government contracting and tightening ethics standards, they can restore faith in government and keep important projects on track.