Friday, October 01, 2004

High Irony in the Cozy World of Government Contracting

Here's a story from BBC News that won't make even a small dent in the spin and counter-spin about the presidential debates:
US air force official imprisoned

The former number two buyer for the US air force has been sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption.

Darleen Druyun, 56, admitted to boosting the price of a tanker plane deal to win favour with Boeing, the company she was about to work for.

She also pleaded guilty to giving Boeing a competitor's secret data.

The judge said the stain of her offence was very severe, and the case "must stand as an example", given the high office she held....
There are two ironies here. First, Druyun was caught doing something blatantly that others manage to do more subtly in Washington. I couldn't begin to count the number of retiring generals, admirals, and high-ranking bureaucrats who, shortly before they retire, start making nice to contractors to whom they'd like to sell their consulting services for, say, $150 an hour.

Second, I remember that when Druyun was still in her government job she was a panelist at a symposium on ethical practices for government contractors. Of course, she was all in favor of ethics. Isn't everyone in Washington?

Well, maybe not Tom DeLay. Though DeLay's real sin is being a "take no prisoners" Republican in the mold of Newt Gingrich. If you're too nasty to the opposition, they stop giving you a free pass for behaving like everyone else on Capitol Hill. Then the opposition suddenly discovers ethics -- not theirs, of course, just your lack of them.