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Knock Knock. Who’s There?

Did you know?

http://www.usa.gov/
This website has been featured in prior newsletters because it’s such a vital reference to use. One page in particular has been used often in GBG research: the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies. This index links you directly to the website of the agency of choice. It’s extremely helpful when have to research a payment for an invoice from a federal agency you do not normally use, if you are looking at bids and you want to research the agency, or if you simply want to know whether or not an agency is legitimate, if the agency is listed, this site will take you to that agency’s website. 

General service contractors must identify themselves as contractors according to Section 831 of the National Defense Authorization Act. Contractor employees are also required to identify themselves in telephone conversations. This rule amended DFARS parts 211 and 237 with an effective date of May 5, 2011. The Federal Register Volume 76, Number 87 states:

“Service contracts shall require contractor employees to identify themselves as contractor personnel by introducing themselves or being introduced as contractor personnel and displaying distinguishing badges or other visible identification for meeting with Government personnel.”

Investigative Report

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released its report on “Stimulus Contractors Who Cheat on Their Taxes.” Senator Levin has been quoted, “the executive branch has made it clear nonpayment of tax can be grounds for denying a specific contract or debarring a contractor from bidding on any contract.”

The report examined 63,000 government contractors and found that 3,700 owe $757 million in back taxes. The bulk of the tax debt was from unpaid corporate and payroll taxes.

Lean-Green Furniture Machine

The IRS is looking for ways to reduce the “footprint” of furniture it purchases and has asked furniture companies to examine ways to make furniture more “green friendly.” If your company is interested in helping the IRS reach this goal, please contact Zach Rich at zach.rich@irs.gov.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

A recent article from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “Afghanistan: U.S. Efforts to Vet Non-U.S. Vendors Need Improvement” (June 8, 2011, GAO-11-355), is of concern and it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with it. In essence, the Departments of Defense (DOD) and State, along with USAID are initializing a review to make sure that all non-U.S. contractors awarded contracts in Afghanistan and the Middle East are not using the funds to finance insurgent groups. This examination includes subcontractors and prime contractors. Under the Afghan First policy, which encourages the purchase of products made by Afghani people to help the local economy, contracts of goods and services are awarded to local vendors.

Through challenging research on the contracts given to Afghani businesses, the amount totals over $5 billion U.S. dollars. Only if a local business is not available or cannot be developed can a contract be awarded to a third world country that hires Afghan workers, or a U.S. company.

The article, “’Afghan First’ Policy Delays Military Building” on the “Today in the Military” page in the May 10, 2010 issue of Military.com states:

“But officials say the ‘Afghan First’ effort is slowing down badly-needed construction projects. Even U.S. officers who support the goals acknowledge there’s a trade-off. Afghan companies often bid on projects that they don’t have the money or skills to complete, Wilson said. Quality inspectors end up teaching the basics of drainage or safe electrical wiring.”

Does the risk of funding terrorist groups through government contracts, or offering contracts that are paid by U.S. dollars to non-U.S. companies while U.S. businesses are hurting for more work, outweigh the good that the policy has on the Afghan economy and foreign relations? It will be interesting to read the findings of the review and subsequent recommendations for USAID.

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