Criticisms of William Lynn’s performance
My former employers at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) have led the charge in questioning President Obama’s pick of William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense because of his recent tenure as a Raytheon lobbyist. But Josh Rogin of Congressional Quarterly reported last Friday on what may be a more serious issue with Lynn: his previous, some say lacking, performance as Pentagon comptroller.
A 1998 Defense Department inspector general’s audit report criticized Lynn’s stewardship of the comptroller’s office, saying the department “did not comply with several laws and regulations” relating to 1997 financial statements.
Rafael DeGennaro, director of the Citizen Century Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes transparency in government, also testified at the board’s hearing. He told the board that the stronger standards were necessary to hold Pentagon program managers and contractors accountable for their estimates and cost overruns.
“On an obscure day, when reformers were trying to get better DOD accounting, William Lynn was part of the problem, not part of the solution,” DeGennaro said in an interview. “He was not a reformer when it mattered.”
Winslow Wheeler, a defense analyst at the Center for Defense Information and former Senate Defense budget aide, said the comptroller’s office under Lynn gave Congress misleading information about Defense budget numbers as a matter of course.
Lynn’s presentations to Congress sought to alter budget projections by using misleading economic figures, counting savings that didn’t exist and comparing numbers incorrectly, according to Wheeler.