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Boeing Suspension Announcement Sends Message to Contractors

July 24, 2003 


An Air Force announcement today to suspend doing business with three Boeing aerospace units marks the first time in more than a decade that a major contractor has been suspended or debarred, according to POGO research into the federal government's suspension and debarment process.

"We're not in a position and don't have all the facts needed to determine if the punishment handed out to Boeing fits the misconduct," said POGO Senior Defense Investigator Eric Miller. "But we do hope this action sends a message to other contractors that they'll stand a good chance of losing big contracts if they break the law or act in an unethical manner."

Current federal government policies prescribe that taxpayer dollars only be awarded to "responsible" contractors that have a satisfactory record of "integrity and business ethics." However, POGO's investigation confirms that this is not usually the case. Most of the government's suspension or debarment actions have been against smaller contractors, POGO found.

In fact, a report issued by POGO last year revealed that only one of the federal government's top 43 contractors was suspended or debarred from doing business with the government. That suspension action, taken in 1992 against General Electric's Aircraft Division, lasted only five days and was lifted. A month later, the company pleaded guilty to diverting millions of dollars from the U.S. Military Aid Program to finance the sale of F-16 engines to Israel. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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