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POGO Takes Aim At Contractor Compensation

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By Elizabeth Newell

On Thursday the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter to OMB Director Peter Orzsag and Jared Bernstein, assistant to the vice president for economic policy, asking them to lower compensation limits for federal contractors and extend the limit to apply to all employees, rather than just the top five employees.

"If the Obama Administration wants to limit executive compensation for Wall Street, why aren't they stopping excessive executive compensation for government contractors? Don't the taxpayers deserve that?" POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said.

Just recently OMB published its annual contractor "benchmark" compensation limit -- $693,151, which is the amount that may be priced into, or reimbursed under, government contracts. Brian said the group is dismayed by the Â"rdiculously highÂ" limit, particularly during a recession.

Â"We realize that the formula for establishing this Â'benchmarkÂ' is statutory. Nevertheless, it is an example of the outrageous influence government contractors possess to permit such an enormous amount of compensation to be reimbursed by taxpayers,Â" the letter stated.

Brian said the group takes no issue with high levels of contractor employee compensation as long as that compensation is not built into the cost of a contract, and therefore being shouldered by the taxpayer.

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