Saturday, October 26, 2013

The No-Bid Contract For CGI Federal

October 25, 2013 Daily Caller reports that the no-bid contract for the Obamacare website (the one that eventually exceeded $640 million) has a curious coincidence in it:
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.
Obviously, this could be just a coincidence.  But remember how insistent that the left was that no-bid Halliburton contract in Iraq was improper because Vice President Cheney had been CEO of Halliburton?


  1. The things I note about CGI Federal and

    CGI Federal got its start when CGI bought the non-national security parts of AMS in 2004; I was in the part that was bought by the US firm CACI. I only worked for AMS for a few months (declined to jump to CACI), but got the impression of above average competence. Of course, a lot can happen in a decade.

    The Feds didn't hire an integrator, instead had HHS's CMS try to play that role. We've now heard enough reports that the shots were being called as high as the White House.

    Initial requirements were seriously delayed; according to one account the effort was frozen for 3+ months before the 2012 election (wonder why?). Major work didn't begin until Feb-March 2013.

    CGI Federal et. al. were subjected to constant requirements changes, 7 major ones by the NYT's count in the last 10 months. Infamously the "no window shopping" one was about a couple of months ago, although breaking the front end was a blessing in disguise because the back end is delivering garbage to insurers.

    Change orders were made through the beginning of the week before launch.

    CMS didn't start integration testing (their responsibility) until 1, maybe 2 weeks before launch. To absolutely no one's surprise, the system failed hard, e.g. when 200 simulated simultaneous logins were attempted.

    The government knowingly put a top to bottom broken system into production.

    I can't see how CGI Federal, or pick your Google/Facebook/Lisper dream team could have won under these circumstances.

    Since then, the idiots formerly running things claimed they'd be doing a "tech 'surge'"; copies of The Mythical Man Month would make good Christmas presents for Obama et. al.

    However, the situation now has a chance, which is desperately important for the million losing their current insurance Jan 1 and who can't afford Obamacare's gold plated plan without subsidies (which the Federal system is a bottleneck for). One of the contractors, QSSI (which CMS in a panic proposed to fire 3 days after launch) has been hired to take on the integration role, and the fix-it czar Jeffrey Zients is accepting reality, has a punch list of bugs and #1 is fixing the garbage the system is sending to insurers, a problem previously downplayed by the political types.

    We'll see; by my estimate they have 7 weeks.

  2. As Althouse pointed out, the article is crap. Michelle Obama, the senior vp of CGI, and a thousand other talented, ambitious, people graduate from Princeton each year. Does the DC show any more evidence of a connection?

    However, if "no-bid" actually means non-competitive, then CGI didn't "earn" the contract. Reportorial sloppiness all around.

  3. As I said, it could be just a coincidence. But in the fever swamps of 2004 Washington, the Halliburton contract was obviously improper (even Halliburton was pretty clearly an expert in the field).