In 2006, a company called Titan (which was later bought by defense giant L-3 Services) was recruiting fewer than half the number of translators the Army needed. A report by the watchdog website CorpWatch said soldiers commonly complained that the translators had poor language skills.
The following year, the lucrative translator contract for Afghanistan was awarded to Mission Essential Personnel, a tiny start-up founded by a U.S. Army Special Forces reservist who was injured in a parachute accident. Taylor, the company's CEO, recently testified that its recruiting numbers are approaching 100 percent, far exceeding the performance of its predecessors.
Funk's assertion that those numbers are the product of shoddy screening of job applicants has left Rep. Snyder uneasy.
If Funk's assertions are true, Snyder told ABC News, "it means they're just trying to put people in the field to get paid."
"If I ask you for five dozen eggs that are fresh, I don't expect you to come back with three dozen eggs and two dozen spoiled ones cause that's what you could find," Snyder said. "We expect them to come back and say there is a shortage. We know there is a shortage. We also are aware this war is going on in areas that are using languages most Americans don't even know the names of."
A spokesman for the company said that logic misinterprets the contract to supply translators to the Army, which could be worth up to $1.4 billion.
"The US Army constructed the contract to disincentivize this sort of conduct," Sean Rushton said in response to a request for comment. "The contract is based on three criteria: cost-control management, quality of personnel, and fill rate, and payments depend on those criteria."
Officials with Mission Essential Personnel told ABC News last week that they expect Funk's lawsuit to be dismissed later this month. An attorney for Funk conceded Tuesday that a dismissal is possible, and that he may have to file his suit again and include greater specificity about the fraud allegations he has already made.