The General Services Administration had an unusual policy in place last year: It offered to give architects and other private contractors a tax deduction for making federal buildings more energy efficient if those contractors returned 19 percent of the money to GSA.
GSA said it would use the refunded money for other government energy efficiency projects. But after seven months it dropped the requirement because there were no takers.
The law allowed GSA to pass the tax deduction to contractors. But a top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee is questioning whether it was legal for GSA to demand a 19 percent refund, which he calls a kickback. Louisiana Republican Rep. Charles Boustany is asking agencies across the government whether they did anything similar.