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Insider trading stock sell-off by Ciber execs during EAC secrecy over voting machine test lab ban

By       Message Michael Richardson     Permalink
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Although the public was not informed by the Election Assistance Commission about its decision to not issue interim accreditation to Ciber, Inc., one of the nation's three previously certified test laboratories for electronic voting machines, the company executives were very aware they had lost a hold on the lucrative testing business.

While unknowing election officials around America continued to incorrectly claim their voting machines were properly tested and certified in the months leading up to the November 2006 elections several Ciber honchos quietly began a stock sell-off.

The EAC took over testing responsibilities for electronic voting machines from the National Association of State Election Directors in July 2006 and issued interim accreditation to two of the NASED certified test labs on August 15, 2006. The Ciber laboratory was left off the approved list for inadequate quality assurance testing and failure to document tests were performed.

For reasons the election agency still has not explained, the non-accreditation of Ciber was kept from public knowledge until a January 2007 article in the New York Times. Senator Diane Feinstein has written to the EAC demanding answers about the non-accreditation and subsequent secrecy about the test lab ban.

Meanwhile, Ciber director and founder Bobby G. Stevenson began a quiet stock sell-off on August 2, 2006, of 25,000 shares every two weeks. During the EAC news blackout on Ciber's non-accreditation until the New York Times article was published, Stevenson was able to unload 262,500 shares of Ciber stock for a tidy $1,609,384 according to reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In December, three weeks before the Times expose, Ciber executive vice-president David Girard, picked up some holiday spending money selling $5,056 worth of Ciber stock.

Ciber's CEO, Mac J. Slingerlend, also did some insider trading during the EAC blackout unloading 7,500 shares on August 30, 2006 for $49,620 and 10,000 shares in December for an additional $66,949.

Ciber is one of the nation's top 100 government contractors and in 2005 was reported to have won $80,000,000 in federal contracts. The non-accreditation of Ciber for inadequate testing and documentation by the EAC and subsequent failure to obtain a favorable recommendation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for future accreditation casts a large shadow on Ciber's government contracts.

One of Ciber's federal contracts that has voting rights advocates concerned is the work Ciber did for the Department of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program that assists military and overseas voters with registration and absentee voting. Ciber's work on the FVAP network of computers included, "testing and validation of both the system's functionality and security." Ciber also tested the military voting assistance program for "security penetration assessments" and purportedly documented "system exposures and vulnerabilities."

Until the EAC answers Senator Feinstein's query it is unknown how many of the voting machines used in the November 2006 elections were not properly certified. Ciber's market share of the testing business was huge with Ciber certifying electronic voting machines used by 68.5% of the registered voters in the recent election.

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Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston. Richardson writes about politics, law, nutrition, ethics, and music. Richardson is also a political consultant.

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