All aboard! Senator McCaskill (D-MO) is leading the way in promoting more accountability in the federal government. Last week, the Senate passed her bill to improve the Inspector General system. Now the freshman Senator from Missouri has drafted S. 2904, which will create a contractor responsibility database--similar to the one proposed by Rep. Maloney (D-NY) in H.R. 3033, which passed the House last week. In an editorial published on Sunday, the New York Times endorsed the idea of a contractor responsibility database, and applauded POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database as an effective model for keeping track of risky contractors. But there is still more work to be done.
S. 2904 differs from H.R. 3033 in that it expands the types of cases included in the contractor responsibility database. Currently, the Senate is considering proposing some of the provisions in S. 2904 as an amendment to the forthcoming Defense Authorization bill. One suggested change by a senior leader, however, would prevent public access to the database. Considering that the vast majority of the information is already public, I'm not sure why the public should be excluded, unless of course the contractors don't want taxpayers to have a user-friendly portal to see their comprehensive rap sheets.
-- Scott Amey