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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Letter Urging GSA to Improve Contractor Listings

The Honorable Martha N. Johnson
Administrator
General Services Administration
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20405

Sent by Email: martha.johnson@gsa.gov

Dear Ms. Johnson:

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) uses USAspending.gov on a regular basis, and since 2008 we have used the top 100 contractor list for compiling our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (http://www.contractormisconduct.org/), which includes criminal, civil, and administrative cases, as well as investigative findings on the top 100-plus federal contractors. Government contract data has come a long way since the days of accessing federal contracting information via the complicated Federal Procurement Data System. We are pleased that the contracting information is more timely and that USAspending.gov is user-friendly, and we hope that Version 2.0 will continue in that tradition.

That said, POGO has a few concerns with the completeness and accuracy of the data in USAspending.gov's top 100 contractor rankings. Past and current versions of the top 100 contractor list include questionable entries, such as subsidiaries being listed independently of their parent companies, companies being assigned multiple rankings, the listing of federal agencies, and even a bizarre listing called "Government of the United States." We realize that the dataset is always changing, and that companies are the subject of mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, and bankruptcies, but some of these problems persist for several years and as a result cause confusion as well as inaccuracies in the database.

For example, in the FY 2009 top 100 contractor ranking (accessed on April 20, 2010):

• ITT Corporation appears twice—#17 and #97;
• Government of the United States is #22;
• Northrop Grumman Corporation is #3 and its Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Inc. subsidiary is #35; and
• McDonnell Douglas Corporation, which merged with Boeing in 1997, is #66.

POGO respectfully requests that these irregularities be promptly addressed and that the data be scrubbed to provide a more accurate picture of federal contract spending. Companies and all of their subsidiaries and affiliates must be combined under one designation to provide the public with a complete list of all contracts received by that company. A failure to do so jeopardizes the integrity of the data and the federal contracting system.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments.  If you have any questions, please contact me at (202) 347-1122.

Sincerely,

Scott H. Amey
General Counsel


cc: The Honorable Daniel I. Gordon, Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy
 The Honorable Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer

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