Today, the federal contracting councils published an advanced notice asking for public comments on how best to protect proprietary information if/when contracts are posted online. Yes, can you believe that with all the advances in technology that taxpayers and the media can’t easily review copies of contracts. The notice stated that “the Councils anticipate that, in the future, a requirement to post on-line the text of contracts and task and delivery orders will be instituted.”
Sounding like a broken record, POGO has urged Congress and executive branch officials to place contracts online. In recent testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “Acquisition Deficiencies at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” POGO recommended:
USAspending.gov should become the one-stop shop for government officials and the public for all spending information. This includes actual copies of each contract, delivery or task order, modification, amendment, other transaction agreement, grant, and lease. Additionally, proposals, solicitations, award decisions and justifications (including all documents related to contracts awarded with less than full and open competition and single-bid contract awards), audits, performance and responsibility data, and other related government reports should be incorporated into USAspending.gov.
POGO envisions an electronic system that allows certain fields or protected data to be redacted from public disclosure. The result will be a system that reduces paper shuffling and finally allows the public to see details—not scant coded summaries—about goods and services the government buys each year. This effort is a win-win for the government and taxpayers.
POGO will weigh in with comments to the notice, which are due on or before July 12, 2010, and should be submitted by any of the following methods:
- Regulations.gov: Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by inputting “FAR Case 2009–004” under the heading “Comment or Submission.” Select the link “Send a Comment or Submission” that corresponds with FAR Case 2009–004. Follow the instructions provided to complete the “Public Comment and Submission Form.” Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2009–004” on your attached document.
- Fax: 202–501–4067
- Mail: General Services Administration
FAR Secretariat (MVCB)
1800 F Street, NW., Room 4041
Attn: Hada Flowers
Washington, DC 20405
Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAR Case 2009–004 in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.
-- Scott Amey