Watchdog group releases updated contractor misconduct database

Sixty-three of the 100 firms receiving the most federal contract money in fiscal 2009 have multiple instances of documented misconduct, according to an updated version of the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, released Friday by the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight.

The list is based on contract fraud and environmental, ethics and labor violations. According to POGO, Lockheed Martin Corp. had 50 instances of civil, criminal or administrative misconduct since 1995. In fiscal 2009, the company received almost $40 billion in federal contracts, according to data from USAspending.gov.

POGO did not find any instances of misconduct for 27 of the top recipients of federal contracting dollars and an additional 11 recipients have only one known instance.

"The fact that over a quarter of the top 100 contractors have no known instances of misconduct is further evidence that we should not accept contractor misconduct as a cost of doing business," said POGO investigator Neil Gordon.

The top 100 contractors received more than $296 billion in contracts in fiscal 2009, accounting for 56 percent of the $524 billion in contracts the government awarded that year.

POGO has found 642 instances since 1995 of misconduct by the top 100 firms, resulting in $18.7 billion in penalties. Along with previous years' data, the organization's database now includes information on 151 federal contractors and 1,049 resolved and pending misconduct instances.

The watchdog group's announcement coincides with the launch of the government's new federal contractor responsibility database, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System. It will provide one-stop access to the Excluded Parties List System and Past Performance Information Retrieval System, nonresponsibility determinations, contract terminations for cause or default, defective pricing determinations, and self-reporting of criminal convictions and civil liabilities. The new system will be available, however, only to federal officials.

"POGO's analysis is not exhaustive, because it cannot capture undisclosed settlements and financial settlement terms that may not be publicly available," Gordon said. "POGO is happy to offer its own contractor misconduct database as an open resource, but hopes that the information in the government's own database, FAPIIS, will soon be accessible to the public."

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