Today, the House passed three more key bills to hold federal contractors accountable and crack down on fraud and abuse. U.S. taxpayers are outraged at the massive levels of waste, fraud and abuse that have been documented in large government contracts to well-connected firms, such as the $45 billion in reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
These three bills are:
Contractors and Federal Responsibility Act, H.R. 3033, which creates a comprehensive, centralized database that lists civil, criminal and administrative proceedings concluded by federal and state governments against federal contractors.
Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act, H.R. 5712, which closes a loophole in a proposed rule so that mandatory fraud reporting requirements would apply to U.S. contractors working overseas as well as to contractors working here at home.
Government Contractor Accountability Act, H.R. 3928, which requires companies receiving 80% or more of their annual gross revenue from federal contracts to disclose the salaries of their most highly-compensated officers.
|Rep. Carolyn Maloney: “While the government has several separate information systems, currently there is no centralized comprehensive database for contracting officers to review prior performance and to review information on contractors before making an award or an additional contract award to contractors. It requires the contracting officer to document why a prospective awardee is deemed responsible if that awardee has two or more offenses which would be cause for debarment within a three-year period.”|
|Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL): “We’ve got to protect the troops. If we are spending money in Iraq and Afghanistan for the intended purpose of bringing our troops home and improving our national security, any dollar that’s wasted that results in any additional injury or one day prolonged in the conflicts is a dollar that is improperly wasted. We cannot do that. I believe that this loophole, however it got there, by mistake or by sleight of hand, however it got there it’s got to be closed. Obviously if you have a regulation as it was written that says we will report fraud when it is a rip-off on a domestic contract, but we won’t when it’s on a foreign contract, we are spending a very unambiguous message there is a green light to rip-off taxpayers if the money is being spent abroad. That’s not a defensible position. And that’s why we are closing this loophole…”|
|Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-05): “And yet with a substantial increase in government funding going to companies through no-bid processes that are virtually, these companies are virtually subsidiaries of the United States government, taking in 90%, perhaps 100% of their revenues from US taxpayers, we don’t know enough about these companies, we don’t know their management practices, their financial statements, their employment policies. They are often highly and tightly held secrets not subject to public scrutiny. So not surprisingly as Chairman Waxman mentioned, in October, 2007, when the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee brought the CEO of Blackwater before us, one of the largest government contractors taking in nearly 90% of their revenue from federal contracts, the CEO of that company, Erik Prince, refused to disclose to Congress the amount of profit that company makes or the amount of salary that he took in…”|