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PARENTAL WARNING: I’m about to get on a soapbox.

It’s easy to forget when you’re in the channel or covering the channel as a reporter that the government is not an ATM machine.

At conferences and vendor partner events, there is usually no shortage of sessions and programs designed to make more money from the Gov-Ed market.

I find myself writing headlines about “Big” federal contract opportunities and how to game the contract system designed to keep the Gov-Ed channel competitive.

The vast majority of VARs and vendors respect the simple and obvious fact that the Gov-Ed ATM machine is stocked from our own pockets and act responsibly.

But a few operate beyond those boundaries.

Our sister publication, Baseline magazine, in its April 2007 issue, details the consequences of such an instance, when two VARs, ADCS, in Poway, Calif. and MZM, a Washington, D.C. firm, allegedly conspired with ousted Congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., to win more than $200 million in work at Department of Defense and several U.S. Intelligence agencies.

Read the full story of the Beltway’s biggest IT bribery scam here at

We’re all in the channel to make money one way or another, but how many folks work hard and pay too much on their taxes to give it away to another VAR? How many have a family member serving in the military whose well-being might have been jeopardized by misspent funds? How many missed out on a legitimate business opportunity because of the similar instances?