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In the House: Contractor Acountability Day

April 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

In a whirlwind of good-government legislating, the House on Wednesday passed three separate bills aimed at holding federal contractors more accountable. Below are descriptions of the three bills, taken from OMB Watch, Sunlight via POGO, and GovExec, in that order.

Government Contractor Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R.3928):

>Although publicly-traded firms are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose the names and salaries of top-level managers, many firms that contract with the federal government, like private security company BlackwaterUSA, are private entities for which this information is not publicly available. H.R. 3928 is intended to provide the federal government and citizens insight into whether federal contractors are adding value to federal procurement or simply lining the pockets of a select few individuals.
>The measure would provide this level of transparency by requiring federal contracting firms or grant recipients receiving more than 80 percent of their revenue from the federal government to disclose the names and salaries of their most highly compensated executives and would make this information available in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG). During the committee markup, an amendment from Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) was adopted that would require disclosure of this information only from companies that have more than $25 million in gross revenues. The bill does not differentiate between for-profit and nonprofit companies.

Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R.3033):

>[H.R.3033], introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), would essentially formalize POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database by establishing a government database with centralized information on federal contractors who have broken the law and violated federal regulations. As of now, there are almost no safeguards in place to prevent irresponsible contractors from receiving future taxpayer dollars. The proposed database would allow procurement officials to become more informed about a company’s corporate history before making contracting decisions.

Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act (H.R. 5712):

>The legislation is meant to reverse the exclusion of companies working on overseas contracts from a proposed rule change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation. The rule would require contractors to self-report criminal violations of contracting rules, such as fraud, as well as overpayments by the government. Bush administration officials recently told lawmakers on the Government Management, Organization and Procurement Subcommittee that the exclusionary language was a “drafting error” and they were removing such language from the proposed rule, rendering the legislation redundant.
>Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who introduced the bill, has expressed skepticism that the administration will follow up on closing the “loophole” and insisted that the legislation is necessary.

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