McCaskill responds to controversy over government contract awarded to official's Leawood neighbor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is responding to a controversy involving a high-ranking Homeland Security official who helped award a quarter-million dollar government contract to his next-door neighbor in Leawood.

In November, a 41 Action News investigation examined the questionable contract and perceived lack of discipline against David Olson, a regional director with the Federal Protective Service.

This week, the Missouri lawmaker sent a letter to the agency's director, Eric Patterson, to suggest implementing basic ethics and procurement training for FPS leadership.

"Given the ethical lapses that apparently occurred in the case, and the potential for similar lapses going forward, I believe such training would be useful," McCaskill wrote.

McCaskill sits on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and also chairs the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting. Her response follows other reactions from congressional leaders following the 41 Action News report.

In a separate letter, McCaskill also asked for a review to determine how investigative findings from Inspectors General reports are shared with security clearance review offices.

"It appears there is no formal process or guidelines governing when Inspectors General should alert review offices to findings that may be relevant to an individual's security clearance," the letter said.

The letter did not specifically mention Olson's incident. However, as a high-ranking official, Olson does have access to top-secret government briefings. Critics have called for his security clearance to be reviewed in the wake of the controversy.

As we reported, the Inspector General's investigation did find Olson "improperly influenced and facilitated" the contract for security camera systems.

The probe also suggested the regional director was less than forthcoming with investigators when questioned about the conflict of interest and communication he had with his neighbor prior to the bid process.

Despite the findings, Olson received a three-day suspension, deferred for two years.

"That seems outrageous," former FBI agent Michael Tabman said. "The level of irresponsibility in this case should have at least caused a demotion or some serious sanction. I find it hard to believe he didn't know that was wrong."

While critics are glad the situation is catching some attention from congressional leaders in D.C., some expressed disappointment by the response from McCaskill, a former prosecutor and state auditor.

"I would think she would be more expressive about the appearance of misconduct in the procurement process," said David Wright, the union president representing FPS employees.

Both of McCaskill's letters requested follow-up reports from the recipients. Stay with kshb.com for any further developments with this story.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on his Facebook page .

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