Loophole: The Hearing
The promised hearing on The Loophole took place as planned.
And just as expected, we got a potpourri of opinions from various quarters, including the Justice Department, Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the contractor world.
Informed observers will recall that said loophole was inserted into a proposed OMB rule exempting U.S. contractors in foreign countries from having to report waste, fraud or abuse they encounter while doing work for the government.
Critics saw dark happenings meant to unleash contractors abroad. Some government officials said it was a bureaucratic misstep. This is no small thing. The rule was supposed to apply to all U.S. contracts. That's more than $400 billion a year.
Here are some excerpts from prepared testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement. Among the things they discussed was proposed legislation that would close the loophole and require -- as originally proposed -- contractors to report bad stuff involving federal contracts abroad.
From Paul A. Denett, administrator for federal procurement policy:
"I am inclined to favor the elimination of exemptions for overseas contracts and commercial item acquisitions for purposes of this rulemaking."
From Barry Sabin, principal deputy assistant attorney general:
"We continue to voice our concerns about both exemptions as they are being considered by the Councils."
From Colleen Preston, executive vice president at the Professional Services Council, a trade group:
"Often, what sounds like a simple and sensible proposal, when applied in the context of the realities of the contracting process, can end up having significant unintended consequences, and costs far beyond its benefits," she said. "First, there is no reason to believe that a mandatory reporting program will actually result in reduced fraud or additional opportunities for redress by the government."
Finally, here's some eye candy from Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). It doesn't exactly make sense, but it feels dramatic and looks really cool.
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Posted by: Michael Lent | April 16, 2008 7:54 AM
Posted by: Paul | April 17, 2008 3:27 PM
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