Is “America’s CIO” Vivek Kundra being unfairly tarnished by the FBI investigation into bribery and money laundering at his old offices, the DC municipal government’s tech dept?
At least one staffer who worked with Vivek (pronounced vi-VEK, emphasis on second syllable) tells SAI “yes.”
I’m one of the 27 consultants whose contract was terminated at DC Gov’t in the wake of the bribery scandal at DC Govt, and I’ve worked on projects that Vivek directly championed at OCTO. You ask in your article if you’re treating Kundra fairly; i say no…
The people arrested in the past week were in DC Gov’t employ before Vivek got there: he inherited them. You can’t lay their actions at his feet. There were personnel in the office of the Chief Financial Officer’s office who are charged/terminated or arrested, yet no news story says anything about whether or not the head of that office is in trouble; indeed his name has yet to appear anywhere.
One of Vivek’s innovations in DC was to implement a double-blind bidding process on contracts, a system, we’re told, that would have stopped the bribery in its place had it been there earlier.
The source — who doesn’t want their identity revealed, as they may re-apply for more tech work in DC — chatted on the phone with me for a bit. They clearly are familiar with goings-on in the DC tech office, and were effusive in their praise for Vivek, describing their old boss as “young, energetic, political, a real nice guy.” But our tipster said they only met Vivek two or three times, and doubted Vivek would even be able put a name to their face.
So maybe Vivek isn’t such a bad guy after all. Let no one say this blog isn’t willing to give Vivek a fair shake.
But with the FBI investigation continuing, and then that weird J.C. Penney shoplifting charge we just learned about, really the only one who can put to rest the doubts we have about Vivek is the man himself. We’ve submitted our request for interview to the White House, and we repeat our call publically now.
If Vivek really did get stuck with a bum rap, no one wants to move past it more than us, so we can tackle the dot-gov mess together going forwards. Meanwhile, we invite any of Vivek’s co-workers, former classmates, or anyone who can tell us more about him to write in at [email protected].
Image David Clow / Flickr