Air Force contract questioned
The federal government’s fiscal watchdog recommended this week that the Air Force reopen bidding on a controversial $35 billion contract to build refueling tanker planes. In February, the Air Force awarded the contract to a consortium led by Northrop Grumman and European aerospace firm EADS. Boeing, a rival bidder, protested the decision, arguing that awarding the contract to the Northrop consortium would send U.S. jobs overseas. The General Accountability Office supported Boeing’s protest, saying that flaws in the bidding process could have affected the competition.

White House aide cleared
A federal appeals court this week threw out the convictions of a former White House aide charged with lying about his dealings with disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The District of Columbia appeals court ruled that lawyers for David Safavian should have been allowed to present expert testimony on the government contracting rules he allegedly violated. The trial judge also gave the jury incorrect instructions, the appeals court said. Safavian will be retried.