In an encouraging sign of focusing on real federal acquisition reform, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, has scheduled a hearing on July 16th to take a closer look at the Alaska Native Corporation (ANCs) 8(a) program. Sen. McCaskill has sent a letter to twenty ANCs, asking for information regarding salaries and compensation for executives and cash dividends paid to shareholders, company's size and its total revenue and operating expenses, and federal contract dollars and subcontracts received each year from 2000 to 2008.
I have written about ANCs, (here and here), and believe that the ANC programs does need a thorough review as the program has been abused and a source of corruption in government contracting. Although I certainly do not advocate eliminating the program, as the ANC program as originally envisioned has helped a desperately poor and neglected community, this program needs to be brought in line with the other SBA 8(a) small-business programs to promote competition and best value.
I just hope that objective information is collected by this committee, as the focus on executive compensation seems to be a center of attention on many issues regarding acquisition reform. I would recommend to Sen. McCaskill to focus on the impact these programs have overall on government contracting, competition, and their use and abuse. True accountability and transparency certainly falls within the realm of ANCs, and should be reviewed through that prism.