State Department officials have fired contract specialist Kathleen McGrade in the wake of The Daily Caller’s exclusive investigation, which discovered that she funneled more than $52 million in taxpayer money to a company her husband and daughter own and operate.
State Department spokesman Andy Laine told The Daily Caller that McGrade’s employment has ended.
“Upon learning of the allegations, the Department immediately relieved Ms. McGrade of her responsibilities,” Laine said in an email. “Subsequently, the Department instructed her company that her employment at the Department is terminated.”
McGrade worked as a federal government contractor, handling the disbursement of taxpayer money for the State Department to other contractors. She worked on-site at the State Department in the office of Overseas Building Operations.
McGrade’s husband, Brian Collinsworth, and her daughter, Jennifer Herring, own and operate the Sterling Royale Group. McGrade helped Sterling Royale win 43 government contracts worth $52,095,333 between 2009 and June 15 of this year.
Laine also told TheDC in an email that McGrade was not a “contracting officer.” (State Dept. contract officer steers $52 million to secret husband, daughter)
“She was a management analyst, providing support in the contacting [sic] process,” Laine wrote.
This contradicts the State Department’s own website, which calls McGrade a “contract specialist.” Several contracting experts told TheDC that a “contract specialist” is a job title, but she likely approved the contracts personally. McGrade was the only State Department contact listed on publicly available documents related to those contracts.
Laine’s comment also directly contradicts what Collinsworth, McGrade’s husband, told TheDC, when he denied any personal relationship with the woman who was awarding government money to his company. TheDC later published a photo from their wedding.
“She is the CO [contracting officer] on our contracts, but we are not married in any way, shape or form. That’s kind of funny, but, okay,” Collinsworth said, claiming that he and McGrade had no relationship “other than a professional one of a CO to a company.”
Laine also told TheDC that McGrade was not empowered to approve contracts on her own, suggesting that other State Department employees may have been involved in decisions to award millions of taxpayer dollars to her husband and daughter. Whether others at the State Department knew Collinsworth and Herring were McGrade’s family members is a different story.
Laine won’t comment on any specifics, nor will he say specifically when McGrade’s position was terminated. The only other information the State Department is providing is confirmation that officials have referred McGrade’s case to the Office of Inspector General. Laine also did not confirm or deny whether that office has begun investigating, or taken any other action.