Last year, Rep. Henry A. Waxman released the first comprehensive assessment of government contracting under the Bush Administration. The report, entitled Dollars, Not Sense: Government Contracting Under the Bush Administration, found that between 2000 and 2005, federal procurement spending rose by over 80%, no-bid and other contracts awarded without full and open competition increased by over 100%, and contract mismanagement led to rising waste, fraud, and abuse in federal procurement.
This new report finds that the worrisome trends identified last year have worsened significantly. For the first time, (1) annual federal procurement spending crossed the $400 billion threshold, (2) more than half of this spending — over $200 billion in new contracts — was awarded without full and open competition, and (3) the total value of wasteful federal contracts now exceeds $1 trillion.
Last year’s report found that procurement spending had risen from $203.1 billion in 2000 to $377.5 in 2005. This year’s report finds that procurement spending increased to $412.1 billion in 2006, a new record. Contract spending has now more than doubled since President Bush took office. At the Department of Homeland Security, procurement spending increased by 51% last year alone. Since 2000, spending on federal contracts has grown more than twice as fast as other discretionary federal spending. For the first time, the federal government now spends over 40 cents of every discretionary dollar on contracts with private companies.
Last year’s report found that no-bid contracts and other forms of contracts awarded without full and open competition had risen from $67.5 billion in 2000 to $145.1 billion in 2005. This year’s report finds that spending on these no-bid and limited-competition contracts surged over $60 billion to $206.9 billion in 2006, the largest single-year increase ever. The value of federal contracts awarded without full and open competition has more than tripled since 2000. For the first time on record, more than half of federal procurement spending was awarded through no-bid and limited-competition contracts in 2006.
Last year’s report identified 118 contracts valued at $745.5 billion that had been found by government auditors to involve significant waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. This year’s report identifies 189 contracts valued at $1.1 trillion that have been plagued by waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. In the case of each of these 187 contracts, reports from the Government Accountability Office, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, agency inspectors general, or other independent federal oversight officials have documented significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement over the last six years.