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Official Declines To Testify In Contracting Probe

Castillo testified Wednesday that his company's dealings with the IRS were lawful and contributed "to the IRS' mission."

He said he didn't know why Roseman invoked his 5th amendment right and that he wished Roseman had testified. Castillo acknowledged that he and Roseman were friends, had regularly exchanged text messages over about 10 years and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game together, but said nothing was untoward.

"We are a responsible small business," Castillo said. "Strong Castle remains committed to providing results."

He added, "We have competed fairly for every IRS contract we've received."

But Democrats and Republicans on the committee pounded Castillo and Strong Castle. They said Castillo's company had taken advantage of his relationship with Roseman and manipulated other government agencies to secure contracts.

The committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and the top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, questioned Castillo about how he obtained a designation known as HubZone status from the SBA. The program, which is designed to promote businesses in inner city areas, gives special status to companies if they work in certain areas of cities and are staffed with employees who live in HubZone areas.

Castillo's company employed a few students from Catholic University, which is in a HubZone area, for some low-level positions and kept a small office in Washington's Chinatown neighborhood. Castillo told the committee that much of his business was actually run from his home in suburban Loudon County, Virginia.

The SBA recently revoked Strong Castle's HubZone status.

"Don't you think you manipulated this process?" Cummings asked.

"No sir, I don't feel I manipulated it," Castillo said.

Issa also accused Castillo of claiming a level of experience that he did not possess.

"You swore an oath to tell the truth the whole truth and that's shading the truth pretty close," Issa told Castillo.

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