Business Never Better For Contractor That Failed Badly In Iraq
Parsons Corp. was given roughly $200 million to build 150 primary health clinics in Iraq. Just 20 were finished before Parsons was terminated, and the Army Corps of Engineers says just seven are operational.
A policy academy building Parsons constructed for $75 million was so flawed that human waste rained from the ceilings. Stuart W. Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said 13 out of 14 Parsons projects that his office examined were flawed.
For this, the company has taken bipartisan hits on Capitol Hill, and its contracts are being audited by the Defense Department. "This is the lens through which Iraqis will now see America. Incompetence. Profiteering. Arrogance," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) at a September hearing.
Chief Executive James F. McNulty told the Washington Post that he has personally been under intense pressure to explain the company's performance to potential clients and to the public.
But he said the firm continues to rack up contracts even as it comes under assault.
"We've lost no business over it. In fact, the very people who are criticizing us are giving us more work," McNulty told the Post.
Here's a question for the incoming Congress: Why?
The Defense Department Inspector General is looking at the Parsons contracts under a broader audit related to spending and financial management for activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The audit is scheduled to be completed in March.
Meanwhile, oversight is expected to increase dramatically next year with Democrats taking control of Congress, and several key lawmakers have announced their intention to ramp up hearings.
The feeling among Democrats: the Republican-led Congress was too soft on companies like Parsons.