Qwest ducks debarment from federal work

Qwest Communications International Inc. can keep competing for federal work now that the General Services Administration has decided against debarring the company.

GSA began reviewing Qwest's government contracts in July 2002, based on allegations that the Denver carrier had inflated revenue. Last year, Qwest paid a $250 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle financial fraud charges.
GSA's inspector general reviewed the company's practices and recommended that the agency's suspension and debarment official, Joseph Neurauter, consider suspending Qwest, seven of its former employees and one current employee.

In a letter to Qwest issued late last month, Neurauter said he cleared the company because he was 'satisfied that Qwest has taken adequate remedial measures,' including changes in its management, the establishment of a corporate ethics program and continued disclosures to the government about issues the company may face.

The company's federal users include the Energy, Labor and Treasury departments, the Air Force, GSA, the IRS, the National Institutes of Health and the Mint.

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