Thursday Morning Federal Newscast - October 14th

Thursday - 10/14/2010, 8:22am EDT

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The public will be able to check agency performance at Performance.gov -- eventually. Shelley Metzenbaum, the OMB associate director for performance and personnel management, says the site isn't quite ready for prime time. GovExec reports, when the site does go public, it will not include letter grades on agency performance. Performance.gov was set up to collect data on programs the administration considers high priority.

  • They put their IT business up for sale a few months ago. Now, Lockheed Martin says they've found a buyer. The Washington Business Journal reports that Lockheed will sell its Enterprise Integration Group business to Veritas Capital Fund for 815 million dollars. EIG provides system engineering services, simulation, and risk analysis services for several intelligence customers. Veritas says it won't change management and hopes to expand EIG's business. Lockheed decided to sell EIG to avoid any internal conflicts of interest in federal contracting.

  • An Armenian-American crime ring has been charged with defrauding Medicare to the tune of $35 million. The federal indictment says the group used stolen doctor and patient identities and set up dozens of phony clinics coast-to-coast. Members of the group have been arrested. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the case one of the biggest Medicare fraud enterprises ever. It was the latest in a string of Medicare fraud busts by the Justice Department.

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission's inspector general has cleared agency management of improper conduct. The probe concerned the timing of its fraud lawsuit against Goldman Sachs. IG David Kotz has been looking into whether the the suit was partly publicity stunt, intended to influence deliberations in Congress over financial regulation. Kotz has concluded the launching of the suit was not politically motivated after all, as critics had charged. The SEC brought suit in April. In July, Goldman settled for $550 million.

  • The government is close to a settlement with American Indian farmers and their decade-old lawsuit against the Agriculture Department. The suit alleges USDA denied Indian farmers and ranchers access to federal loans. Lawyers representing both sides are due in court next week, when, they said, a settlement announcement is expected. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has vowed to resolve the case. USDA settled a similar case with black farmers 10 years ago who said the Agriculture Department discriminated against them for decades.

  • Fifty years ago, then-Senator John F. Kennedy issued a call to volunteer in developing countries. That speech led to the creation of the Peace Corps. Its mission is to help countries create and sustain development programs and promote a better understanding of Americans. But critics say the organization needs to take a serious look at how well it has carried out its mission. USA Today reports that the Peace Corps faces criticism for resting on its laurels and not being as relevant for the 21st century, now that it has more competition as more Americans find other opportunities to serve overseas.

  • Ace Info Solutions has been awarded a contract to provide information technology support for the Coast Guard. The five-year deal, worth $145 million, was awarded by the Coast Guard Operations Systems Center in Kearneysville, West Virginia according to Washington Technology. Ace Info Solutions will focus on the delivery of mission-critical IT services, a service-oriented architecture, and infrastructure capabilities and components to support computer, data communications and network equipment.

More news links

Rescue of Chilean Miners Hailed by NASA (space.com)

FACT CHECK: How much pain from COLA freeze?

President Obama's ex-car czar Steve Rattner to pay feds $5M in New York pension flap (NYDailyNews)

New scanner aims to make air travel safer

Man detained on bribery charges in Afghan project

Army Corps worker accused in Iraq contract bribes

Australian accused of taking bribes in Afghanistan

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Establishes supercomputing center in Fairmont, W.Va. (press release)

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

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** You undergo background checks. They collect all sorts of information. Is that information kept private and secure? GAO has looked at the question. We'll get details.

** And President Obama just signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The goal to use plain writing in government documents. How do you do that? We'll talk to the simplicity guru.

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