New Law to Help Prevent Felons, Fraudsters From Getting Federal Contracts

Sep 25, 2008
Press Release
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WASHINGTON, DC – Provisions championed by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) to bring transparency to the federal contracting process have been included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (S. 3001), which passed the House of Representatives yesterday.  The bill is expected to be approved by the Senate and the president in the coming days.

The oversight provisions would create a comprehensive, centralized database that will keep track of the integrity and performance of federal contractors and grantees, more efficiently monitor the federal procurement system, and help protect U.S. taxpayer dollars.  Any person awarded a federal agency contract or grant in excess of $500,000 would be included in the database including information related to any civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings involving the person.  Currently, no central database exists to help procurement officials track fraudulent contractors who do business with the federal government.

“Congress is finally taking common-sense action to make sure that fraudsters and felons do not get federal contracts,” said Rep. Maloney.  “It’s outrageous that until now we’ve had no central way to monitor contractor performance, allowing a handful of contractors to repeatedly violate the law yet still receive millions of dollars from the federal government.  Today, we’re taking an important step toward bringing greater transparency to the federal contracting process.  I want to thank my colleagues Chairman Waxman, Chairman Towns, and Representative Mark Udall who worked with me in the House on this bill as well as Senator McCaskill for her leadership on this issue.”

“This is the kind of legislation that puts the good guys in a position to make informed decisions about how to use taxpayer dollars and the bad guys on their heals because they cannot hide their past bad behavior while trying to compete for new awards of taxpayer funded contracts,” said McCaskill. “This was common sense legislation and it was necessary legislation. I was pleased to join Congresswoman Maloney, as well as Congressmen Waxman and Udall in fighting for this legislation and I am thankful for all of the hard work in the House that helped win its passage.”

“I’m pleased that this important provision that I supported with Congresswoman Maloney has been included in the FY09 Defense Authorization bill,” said Rep. Udall.  “The fact that currently there is no central database to track fraudulent contractors is simply hard to believe. This provision will ensure that federal contracting officials have the information they need to make good decisions with taxpayer dollars and that the billions of dollars spent on goods and services by the U.S. government will go to businesses that abide by the law.”

The contracting oversight provisions included in the defense authorization bill are based on Rep. Maloney’s Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act (H.R. 3033), which passed the House of Representatives in April.  Senator McCaskill introduced the Senate companion to H.R. 3033, and worked to include the database provisions during the Senate’s consideration of S. 3001. 

H.R. 3033 has been strongly and consistently supported by the Campaign for Quality Construction and the Project on Government Oversight.  Rep. Maloney has worked on the issue of improved contracting accountability since serving on the New York City Council, where she led the effort to implement Vendex and ensure city contracts were handed out responsibly.