A government-created contractor misconduct database moved closer to becoming a reality on Wednesday when the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2009 Defense Authorization Act (S. 3001) by a vote of 88 to 8. Section 831 of the bill would establish a contractor "integrity and performance" database similar to POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
POGO regularly harps on the deficiencies of the proposed database, but it's still a positive accomplishment. The database would only include defense contractors and would be accessible only to Department of Defense procurement officials and Congress. The database may be made available to other government officials at the discretion of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, but it's off-limits to the public. It would also include only instances involving the award or performance of contracts, and only those occurring in the most recent 5-year period.
The Senate bill must be reconciled with the House's version, which passed in May, before the legislation can be sent to President Bush, who strongly opposes many provisions, including the database, and is threatening to veto it. Regardless of the fate of a government-maintained contractor misconduct database, POGO will continue to offer its own database, free of charge, to anyone with a web browser and a desire to get the inside scoop on the companies who got over half of the $430 billion in contracts awarded last year.
-- Neil Gordon
UPDATE 9/24/08: A deal was just reached in conference committee to include the Senate’s contractor responsibility database provision with an amendment (taken from the House version) that would require the database to include all government contractors--not just Defense Department contractors--above a certain dollar threshold. See pp. 116-117 of the “Joint Explanatory Statement to accompany S. 3001.”