The federal government buys billions of dollars in goods and services every year. It’s a huge and growing industry, and the important government services that contractors deliver have a large and immediate effect on everything from national security to protecting public health. So who decides—and how—which company gets a particular lucrative government contract? It’s supposed to be a fair, competitive, and open market for services to ensure that the quality of key government goods and services remains high and the costs of government—paid with taxpayer dollars—are minimized.
Unfortunately, reality falls far short of that ideal. Contract abuse has become a widespread problem involving tens of billions of dollars every year and affecting a wide range of government programs and agencies. Failures of oversight into contracting procedures have made it possible for fraud, cronyism, and corruption to become prevalent in government.
This is what Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Scott Lilly will discuss in his new report to be released on Monday, May 14, “A Return to Competitive Contracting.” Lilly’s report examines what is presently known about the potential size and scope of wasteful and corrupt contracting within the federal government, provides the new Congress with useful guidance for developing a broader understanding of the problem, and outlines some steps that might be taken to restore greater transparency and accountability to the use of public funds in the procurement process.
The report will be released on Monday morning at an event at the Center for American Progress featuring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) as the keynote speaker. His presentation will be followed by a lively discussion moderated by Scott Lilly with a panel of experts including Angela Styles, Former Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget; Margaret Daum, Professional Staff for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight.
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