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Friday, August 19, 2005

Waste, Fraud Scandal Brewing at FAA?

Congressional Quarterly's Kathyrn Wolfe reports two U.S. senators are asking Federal Aviation Administration officials for information about the agency's contracting practices:

"Two senators said they will be monitoring FAA contracting practices after a whistleblower suggested the agency was wasting taxpayer money on certain service contracts.
Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a letter Thursday to provide them with more information about their contracting practices.
"The contracts in question are for 'multiple award support service contracts,' which essentially award multiple contracts to a number of companies that provide the same type of service. Since 2001, the FAA has issued three such contracts involving more than 100 contractors.
“'Recently, we began examining contracting practices at the Federal Aviation Administration after a complaint was brought to our attention regarding allegations of possible fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,' the letter read.
"'Support service contracts at the FAA represent over $1 billion in taxpayer funds and should be scrutinized to ensure that every dollar is spent as intended and not subject to fraud, waste or abuse.'"

Here's my suggestion, senators: Put the complete texts of all federal contracts on the Internet as soon as they are approved, subject only to reasonable exceptions for national security, law enforcement, proprietary commercial security and personal privacy.

And if you are really worried about waste and fraud in federal contracting, start posting the complete texts, subject to the same exceptions heretofore noted, of all bid solicitations and bid responses, including the numbers. The costs of government will plunge and waste and fraud will become a rarity, rather than a fixture on the federal bureaucratic scene.