Letter to the Editor

GSA took its time in coming to its senses

Sunday, August 17, 2003

To the editor:

I read with interest a recent article about the General Services Administration announcing its suspension of MCI WorldCom from winning new federal contracts due to concerns about the company's ethics.

Common sense is all it should take to know better than to do business with a company that perpetrated an $11 billion accounting fraud, the largest corporate fraud ever. Common sense is all it should take to know better than to trust a company that destroyed nearly $200 billion of shareholders' investments. Common sense is all it should take to know better than to make an exception and do business with an admitted criminal when you've known better in the past -- witness the debarments of Enron and Arthur Andersen.

MCI WorldCom admitted its fraud over a year ago. Since then, the federal government has awarded it nearly $1 billion in new business, more than the preceding year. Where is the common sense in that? I'm relieved to know the GSA has finally come to its senses and is at least considering barring MCI WorldCom from federal government contracts until the company demonstrates it has the ethics and internal controls to be trusted with taxpayers' money, but I do wish the GSA had made this correct decision just a little bit sooner.

JARED D. BROWN

Cape Girardeau