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Questionable Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Due to Federal Contracting System Weaknesses

March 11, 2004 


 A host of weaknesses in the federal contracting system have led to multi-billion-dollar Iraq reconstruction contracts that lack oversight and transparency, according to an updated POGO white paper released today, Federal Contracting and Iraq Reconstruction.

"What most people do not realize is that those contracts are not anomalies - in fact, they simply reflect the flawed federal contracting system that exists today," concludes the updated white paper, "Federal Contracting and Iraq Reconstruction." "Favoritism, waste, abuse, and even fraud are far more likely today because of the systemic reduction of oversight and transparency in government contracting over the past decade."

The particular problems identified and explained in the new POGO report include:

  • Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts that allow the government to award an unspecified amount of future work to approved contractors.
  • Lack of truly competitive contracting.
  • No public oversight or transparency.
  • Bundling of small contracts into super-sized contracts.
  • Lack of contract oversight.
  • A broken suspension and debarment system that allows companies with poor track records to continue to receive government contracts.

In the past three years, and again this year, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) has been the chief sponsor of "acquisition reforms," legislation that has systematically stripped transparency and accountability from the federal contracting system.

Commented POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian, "Under the current federal contracting system, it should come as no surprise that companies are exploiting their government contracts. Over the past decade laws intended to protect taxpayer interests have been whittled away. The great irony is that the primary cheerleader of this system, Rep. Davis, is holding the oversight hearing."

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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