Report Says Native 8(a) Contracting Programs Need Some Work
Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey is calling for a hearing on Alaska Native corporations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report saying the Small Business Administration's Native corporation 8(a) program needs some work.
That's the federal system that lets Alaska Native corporations get preference for government contracts.
Representative Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), is calling for a hearing on Alaska Native corporations after the release of this latest report from the GAO.
The report looks at the way tribal firms owned by Alaska Native corporations use money they are given in contracts by the federal government.
The report recommends a number of actions be taken by the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies to improve the oversight of the way money is used when tribal 8(a) firms subcontract out.
The 8(a) firms are afforded special advantages within the Small Business Administration's development program, including being awarded sole-source contracts of unlimited amounts of money.
Markey said a hearing is needed because the report finds federal agencies are currently unable to provide the necessary protections to ensure subcontracting is being done correctly and money used wisely.
The Native American Contractors Association said a hearing isn't necessary.
“In my review of the GAO report there is no call for legislative reform, there is no issues of concern of abuse or waste of native contractors, so I’m not sure why we need a hearing,” said Sarah Jukin, of the Native American Contractors Association.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said the government accountability report did not find tribal 8(a) participants should be restricted in any way, and new regulations put in place last year need time to be complied with.
Murkowski said she finds it interesting that Representative Markey has asked for yet another review.
“It seems to me that he is on a mission here and I'm not entirely certain whether that mission is to bring down the ANC program for Alaska Natives; if that is the case he needs to know that I and the other members of the Alaska delegation will absolutely take him on this regard,” said Murkowski.
Markey first called for a hearing on Alaska Native corporation contracting issues three months ago, after an employee of an ANC contractor was indicted on bribery charges.