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Education Department chooses firm with ties to Betsy DeVos for debt-collection contract

In a response to Performant’s protests about the 2016 decision, the GAO outlined its reasoning with ratings for the bidding firms. Windham’s management received a satisfactory rating, while past performance was deemed “exceptional.” Performant, however, received a “marginal” rating for its management, and its past performance was rated as “satisfactory,” the Post reported.

“It simply does not make sense that the agency would choose to work with lower-rated [companies] with marginal ratings that do not have an exceptional past performance record,” said Todd Canni, an attorney for another bidding firm. “While we continue to await more facts, we are deeply troubled by the optics and appearance issues associated with the agency’s award decisions.”

Canni added, “Given the fact that Performant was not a highly rated [company] and, in fact, was rated fairly low . . . the agency will be under intense scrutiny and will need to explain how suddenly these ratings changed so significantly to allow Performant to leap frog over so many other qualified [companies].”

Nathan Bailey, the Education Department’s spokesperson, said on Thursday that DeVos had “no knowledge, let alone involvement,” in the selection process for the debt-collection contract,” the Post reported.

Conflicts of interest have been a central component in the opposition to President Donald Trump, and who he has chosen to work for his administration.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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