While government agencies snoop into the private lives of Americans,
Congress maintains a stone wall around trillions of dollars in public contracts.
Just before their Christmas break, lawmakers quietly renewed the
Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program, a oxymorically titled law that
blocks disclosure of Pentagon spending.
The only thing “comprehensive” about the program is its blanket blockade of
subcontractor data. With its latest renewal, the aging “test program” will turn
27 years old in 2017.
“It eliminates transparency and eliminates penalties” for noncompliance,
said Lloyd Chapman, president of the California-based American Small Business
Chapman, in an interview with Watchdog.org, estimated that “taxpayers were
cheated out of $2.5 trillion over the last 25 years.”
Chapman acknowledges that critics only have guesstimates because CSPTP is as
dark as a black box.
“The public needs to know, but the government has not been forthcoming. A
lot of money is not being reported,” said Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine, a
government data collection company in Maryland.
In 2004, the U.S. Government Accountability Office zeroed in on foreign
“Without accurate and complete information on subcontracts to firms
performing outside the U.S., (the Department of Defense) cannot make
informed decisions on industrial base issues,” the GAO report said.
In 2011, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., introduced H.R.
3184 to redistribute $200 billion a year from large corporations that
receive federal small-business contracts to small businesses that Chapman says
are supposed to receive the money. The measure went nowhere.
Congress first approved CSPTP in 1990, ostensibly to relieve contractors of
burdensome government record-keeping rules.
“I don’t know that it’s overly cumbersome,” Mehan said of the accounting
Despite a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that small-business
contractor data on taxpayer-funded projects cannot be kept secret,
subcontractor information on helicopter maker Sikorksy
Aircraft Corp. was delayed before Congress renewed CSPTP last month.
Sikorsky is scheduled to release a report Thursday, but Chapman isn’t
counting on it.
With the test program extended, he said, “Loopholes will continue to allow
the government and prime Pentagon contractors to cover up.”
To view full article, click here: http://watchdog.org/194019/federal-contracts-pentagon/