Last Wednesday, the contract to re-design Recovery.gov – the administration’s website that was touted as letting taxpayers track every dollar of the "stimulus" package but has fallen far short of doing so – was awarded to Smartronix, a Maryland-based IT firm that specializes in defense contracts. The website overhaul runs up an extremely hefty price tag for taxpayers of $9.5 million to create a “Version 2.0″ of the site, and then possibly another $8.5 million to continue running the site through January 2014.
What’s worse, and in what strikes many as ironic, the General Services Administration, which awarded the costly contract, has not been open about the way the contract was awarded nor what is actually in the contract. The Request For Proposals for the overhaul was never posted on Recovery.gov. The announcement that the contract had been awarded wasn’t posted on the site until Friday. The contract itself has not been released and, according to an inquiry made to the GSA, is subject to a FOIA request.
Let me get this straight – the administration is forcing taxpayers to swallow an outrageous $18 million price tag for overhauling the ‘stimulus’ transparency website, yet we don’t even get to see the contract?” says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Tech-savvy experts tell us that there really are no websites out there that would merit this kind of cost – including sites for major retailers or banking websites. So unfortunately, it looks like taxpayers are once again being taken for a ride – with blindfolds, for that matter.