Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Reducing Influence Pedaling in Government Contracting

Truthout April 27, 2011

This week’s column tackles a very significant problem that keeps the public, Congress and the administration from overseeing and controlling influence peddling via lobbying. This type of influence peddling is prevalent throughout our government and especially within the Department of Defense (DoD). The example that is highlighted in this column, the Boeing tanker scandal, shows how lobbyists who used to work for the government can manipulate the weapons procurement process. This type of influence can cause important military funds to be used to bail out an ailing company instead of buying the best weapons for our security.

The solution laid out here can be done without Congressional legislation. The basic law has already been passed, so this administration can solve the problem within its own jurisdiction. The problem of rampant influence peddling will not be completely solved by this solution, but we will begin to see and be able to track who is influencing the government and their past affiliations with the government. Two weeks ago in this column, I suggested some strong solutions for the problem of the revolving door in the DoD. This solution can be a good first step to show just how big and prevalent the problem is. If the administration would implement this solution, Congress will have a record of the escalating problem of lobbying on our national defense and other areas and may be willing to pass effective legislation to curb the problem. It should be noted that this solution could and should apply to all areas of the federal government in order to increase transparency and shine a light on any undue influence in the federal procurement process.

This article is written by two staff members of OMB Watch, an important nonprofit watchdog that has been keeping an eye on government spending for 28 years. “OMB Watch exists to increase government transparency and accountability; to ensure sound, equitable regulatory and budgetary processes and policies; and to protect and promote active citizen participation in our democracy.” I have been impressed by their work for years.

Gary Therkildsen is a fiscal policy analyst at OMB Watch.

Gary D. Bass is the executive director of OMB Watch.

-Dina Rasor, Truthout Solutions Editor

Today, the Unites States Air Force relies on a fleet of aerial refueling tankers – overwhelmingly comprised of the jet-powered, Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotanker – to project power around the world. The Air Force has consistently evaluated theaircraftto be flight-worthy until 2040, in spite of its age.

A decade ago, while suffering through the tumultuous financial upheavals caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, defense contractor Boeing Co., with the support of the Air Force, convinced the Pentagon to begin replacing its refueling fleet early. The plan was for the DoD to lease a bundle of Boeing’s commercial jets redesigned as tankers, financially aiding the defense contractor along the way.

Then, a contracting scandal involving improper communications between the government and Boeing blew up, throwing the lease into turmoil. In fact, the fallout of the scandal so immensely complicated the Air Force’s later competitions to find a tanker replacement that the situation has only just recently ended, with Boeing winning one of the largest defense contracts ever.

Please read the entire article here

April 27, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Government Contractor | , , , ,

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