Today, thirty-three organizations are urging both the House and Senate to support an important provision in the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (S. 3001, Sec. 831) for a comprehensive contractor responsibility database. A similar provision was originally proposed by Representative Carolyn Maloney (H.R. 3033) and Senator Claire McCaskill (S. 2904) that would include all large government contractors and would be open to the public. However, under the current Senate bill, the contractor responsibility database included in S. 3001 only applies to Defense Department contractors and is available only to government officials—not the public.
The coalition, representing a broad sector of groups advocating greater transparency and public access for citizens, sent the letter to address a troubling trend by the federal government towards secrecy and non-disclosure of public documents while at the same time government contract spending has eclipsed $440 billion. The federal government is doing little, if anything, to ensure that risky contractors do not receive taxpayer dollars.