The maker of very expensive printer ink, HP has agreed to write a cheque for $16.25 million to make a bribery charge being bought by the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission go away.
Acting on tips from whistleblowers within the Dallas and Houston school districts, investigators found that HP "lavished" gifts on two Texas school districts in order to win government contracts. The bribes involved wining and dining, trips on a yacht and tickets to the 2004 Super Bowl.
All this was provided by the contractors to get inside information and win contracts that were supposed to be awarded through a competitive bidding process. The move compromised the FCC's Schools and Libraries or "E-Rate" fund is the program that was allegedly compromised so it was understandibly a bit miffed.
E-Rate provides money to libraries and schools for computer and networking gear. HP was supposed to bid for school district cash under an open process. The government claimed that HP was "conspiring to rig the competitive bidding of E-Rate contracts."
Even though it has written a huge cheque, HP is not admitting it has done anything. Of course it would never done anything like that every again, if it ever did it in the first place, which it didn't.
HP has also agreed to a compliance program which involves training its employees in how to comply with E-Rate contracting rules .