Alaska Paper: Native Program Being 'Abused'
A program allowing Native Alaskan companies to score no-bid contracts from the federal government is being abused, the editorial board of the Anchorage Daily News wrote, days after The Post's Robert O'Harrow found that the Food and Drug Administration was using the policy to award a contract to a Washington firm.
O'Harrow found that the FDA awarded the no-bid $300,000 contract to Alaska Newspapers Inc., an Alaska native corporation that qualifies for special "set-asides," meaning the firm doesn't have to compete for federal work.
In turn, Alaska Newspapers agreed to hand over the contract to a Washington public relations firm, Qorvis Communications, allowing the FDA to hand-pick its desired firm.
After the findings were revealed, FDA deputy commissioner John Dyer suspended the contract and ordered an independent investigation.
The Anchorage Daily News opined that modest reforms would help stave off such arrangements.
"As the FDA case shows, the 8(a) program gives established contractors powerful incentives to use a Native corporation partner as a 'front' for getting a no-bid federal contract," the editorial says.
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