In January of this year, I questioned the compliance of the IOM task order with the requirements of the NIH/NAS umbrella contract under which the task order was issued. I had found information on a website of the Office of Science Policy and Analysis—which I linked to in my blog post about the issue—according to which any task order to be awarded under that contract must “[r]esolve all questions about the scope … of the activity.” Yet, one of the first IOM meeting’s agenda items was to “clarify the scope of the charge.” So, it would seem that at least one of the requirements of the umbrella contract wasn’t met with respect to the IOM task order, which would explain the secrecy and manufactured urgency regarding the contracting process.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on that link [http://ospa.od.nih.gov/nac.html] today and got automatically redirected to a completely unrelated site of the Office of Science Management and Reporting [http://osp.od.nih.gov/office-science-management-and-reporting] that contained no information about the umbrella contract. That information completely disappeared. But guess what! I have a scanned print-out: Here is a screen shot of what you see when you click on the original link now:
Is anybody still denying that something fishy is going on with this IOM contract? And is anybody still arguing that there is any way that this over-the-top secrecy is innocent? Why would HHS make the information disappear from the Internet after I pointed out the contracting-process issue? What else are they hiding?
One thing that comes to mind is that the request for proposal, which is also clearly required under the umbrella contract (see requirements in the first image above), seems to have never been prepared. Why else would the statement of work be titled “Statement of Work/Request for Proposal.” Logically and from a proper contract-drafting perspective, the request for proposal has to come before the statement of work by necessity. It is ludicrous to have both sets of terms be in the the same legal document.