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Conflict of interest at DARPA being investigated by Department of Defense Inspector General (IG)

This is a fascinating look into conflict of interest within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) — which always reminds me of Pogo the comic: “we have met the enemy and he is us” 🙂 — they sent a letter to DARPA which prompted an investigation into DARPA Director Regina Dugan’s possible conflict of interest in awarding contracts to a company she used to own and which is now run by her father:

The Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) is auditing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and looking into financial ties of DARPA Director Regina Dugan after POGO called for an investigation into potential conflicts of interest at the agency.

The audits will cover two areas: all of DARPA’s contracts and grants from the last two years and a special look at the contracts awarded to RedXDefense, a bomb detection firm founded by Dugan and currently run by Dugan’s father. The Pentagon IG explained the audits in a letter to POGO sent on Friday.

In addition to having family ties to the company, Dugan still has a financial relationship with RedXDefense.

“RedXDefense owes Dugan $250,000 for a “loan/note” and additionally details that she has between $151,000 and $305,000 in assets and income from RedXDefense,” we said in a May 9, 2011, letter to the Department of Defense Inspector General.

here’s more explanation from Wired’s Spencer Ackerman, who tracks these types of issues via the Wired Danger Room blog.

[HT to Ellen Miller at Sunlight Foundation for this tidbit!]