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July 28, 2015

Nonprofit Running Big U.S. Program for Disabled Faces Inquiries

Multiple federal agencies are investigating AbilityOne, the U.S. government's major employment initiative for people with severe disabilities, and SourceAmerica, a nonprofit that manages the multibillion-dollar program, according to CNN.

Citing multiple "inside sources," the network says the Justice Department and at least four federal inspectors general have undertaken investigations of the program's finances, management, and contracting procedures.

AbilityOne steers about $3 billion in taxpayer funds a year into government contracts for goods and services with companies at which at least 75 percent of work is performed by blind or severely disabled people unable to get jobs elsewhere. Named and unnamed sources allege to CNN that as many as half the firms recommended by SourceAmerica to the AbilityOne commission that approves the contracts fall short of the target for disabled workers.

Sources also claim a large share of the deals go to a small number of companies with ties to top SourceAmerica officials. In a statement to CNN, SourceAmerica denied the accusations, saying, "No one involved in making award recommendations to the commission is employed by an organization seeking those contracts."