Harkin Pushes For Honest Leadership and Accountability in Contracting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that he is co-sponsoring the Honest Leadership and Accountability in Contracting Act, legislation that increases transparency in government contracting and cracks down on corruption and corporate cheaters.


“We must fight for reform, so we can ensure that America’s interests always come first,” said Harkin.  “This legislation is long overdue, and I believe it will clean up the waste, fraud and abuse of power in government contracting.   This way, Republicans won’t be able to let friends like Halliburton receive no bid contracts that misuse taxpayer dollars.”


Some of the key provisions of the legislation include:


Forces Real Contract Competition – Prohibits the awarding of huge monopoly contracts, and allows multiple companies to make bids for work so as to ensure price competition.


Bans Corporate Cronyism in Contracting – Requires that federal agencies conduct contract oversight, rather than paying contractors with conflicts of interest to oversee one another.          


Punishes War Profiteers – Establishes penalties of up to 20 years in prison and at least $1 million in fines for war profiteering.                       


Ends Cronyism in Key Government Positions – Stops unqualified political appointees from holding key jobs relating to federal contracting or public safety.


Cracks Down on Big Corporate Cheaters – Restores a Clinton Administration rule on suspension and debarment, which prohibited awarding federal contracts to companies that exhibited a pattern of failing to comply with the law.  The Bush Administration repealed this rule as soon as it took office.


Requires Full Disclosure of Contract Abuses – Establishes a “Truth in Contracting” public website identifying overcharges by major contractors.


Eliminates Conflicts of Interest for Federal Contracting Employees – Closes the perverse loophole that allows federal contracting officials to take jobs as lobbyists for companies to whom they awarded contracts.


Strengthens Whistleblower Protections – Makes it more difficult for federal agencies to retaliate against whistleblowers, and gives courts wider discretion to consider cases of retaliation.