Issa Calls on Administration to use Available Technology, Training to Prevent Mistakes in GSA Blacklist of Troubled Contractors

February 26, 2009

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today, at a hearing on problems identified by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the GSA’s Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), called for new training and technology to play a role in eliminating serious mistakes in the awarding of Federal contracts.

“In the past six months, this Congress has approved a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, an $800 billion economic stimulus and, just yesterday, a $410 billion omnibus that significantly increases spending … [L]ooking at instances where contractors who have not played by the rules continue to be trusted with taxpayer dollars is a good place for this committee to begin a bipartisan effort to identify and fix the waste of taxpayer dollars so that government waste doesn’t grow at, or even exceed, the pace of spending,” said Issa in his opening statement for the record.

“Contractors offer the Federal government unique flexibility and are invaluable avenues for bringing private sector innovations into government, which ultimately saves taxpayers money,” Issa continued. “Reprehensible examples of abuses by disreputable contractors and the failure to exclude these already known bad actors from getting new Federal contracts is a call for reform.”

During the question and answer session, Issa stated the data making up the EPLS needs to be integrated and made compatible with other tools used to award contracts and that additional ways of identifying and tracking bad actors in the contracting community can result in fewer mistakes and fewer instances of contracting fraud.

“The egregious examples of contracting failures found by GAO not only led to waste but endangered lives,” said Issa at the hearing’s conclusion.  “Recommendations for fixing mistakes – including better training and technology – need to be implemented.”

A copy of the GAO report is available here.