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DoD OIG Expands into “Buy American” Compliance

On October 17, 2013, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it was expanding its audit in federal domestic preference contracting laws. The OIG essentially terminated its limited audit of DoD compliance with the Berry Amendment, a law prohibiting DoD from acquiring certain items that are not 100 percent grown or produced in the United States, in order to conduct one that includes a look into compliance with both Berry and the Buy American Act (BAA), which requires “the BAA requires that ‘substantially all’ of the costs of foreign components not exceed 50% of the cost of all components.”

This is welcome news. The Project On Government Oversight wrote to the OIG in September requesting that the audit be expanded to include both domestic preference laws. The expanded audit will include the Services and the Defense Logistics Agency. POGO’s reason for calling for the expanded audit is to determine if DoD is in compliance with those laws and whether those laws are working in the best interest of taxpayers. POGO is aware of at least one violation of the BAA and a comprehensive audit is long overdue.

According to a letter received by POGO a few minutes ago, the audit will review:

Our prior coverage of this issue stirred the pot. Many of our readers are outraged that U.S. soldiers are outfitted in foreign-made clothes, while others think that domestic preference laws hinder competition and waste taxpayer money. Congress has been mostly silent and was more steamed when Olympians wore jackets made in China. Right now, this is a matter of making sure the government is following the laws that it passes, and any debate on whether these provisions should be repealed can wait for another day.

By: Scott H. Amey, J.D.
General Counsel, POGO

Scott Amey Scott Amey is General Counsel for the Project On Government Oversight. Some of Scott's investigations center on contract oversight, human trafficking, the revolving door, and ethics issues.

Topics: Contract Oversight

Related Content: Inspector General Oversight, Federal Acquisition, Department of Defense (DOD), Competition in Federal Contracting, Defense, Transparency in Contracting

Authors: Scott H. Amey, J.D.

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