Navy report clears IBM of procurement charges


WASHINGTON -- The Navy Department said in a report disclosed at a House Government Operations Committee hearing yesterday that it had found no evidence that IBM violated federal contracting laws in procuring Navy contracts.

Hearings held by the committee last fall disclosed that Navy officials had visited an International Business Machines Corp. training center that featured golf and tennis and that Navy personnel had asked IBM officials for help in writing a solicitation for computer equipment.

The Navy report yesterday said attendance at the IBM center had "created the appearance of impropriety but did not constitute an illegal gratuity under applicable regulations."

IBM maintained throughout the proceedings that it had not violated the law.

"We obviously are gratified to hear it said formally, in a public hearing," said Mark Holcomb, a spokesman for IBM.

Representative John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., chairman of the committee, said the Navy's report was "disappointing in a number of respects."

The Navy report "seems to reflect a philosophy of steady-as-you-go, no matter how bad the storm gets," Mr. Conyers said.

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