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US: Senator demands answers for BoA’s exclusive prison contract

 |  October 6, 2014

A US Senator is demanding answers from the Treasury Department for awarding Bank of America an exclusive contract to provider services in federal prisons across the nation without facing competition.

Reports say Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter Friday asking the Treasury how it expects to protect taxpayers from fraud and conflicts of interest since the contract was awarded without any competitive bidding process or transparency. Competitive bidding, the lawmaker said, is “meant to give taxpayers the most bang for the buck. Any time the government avoids competitive bidding, the practice needs exploration.”

The deal with Bank of America was first reported last Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity. The lender has been paid at least $76.3 million so far through the contract, which names Bank of America as the sole manager of inmates’ accounts and other services within 121 federal prisons managed by the Bureau of Prisons. According to reports, the contract was first awarded in 2000 under a rule that allows the Treasury to bypass competitive bidding and transparency generally required under similar circumstances.

Full content: Public Integrity

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