Under the Bush Administration, the “shadow government” of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.
This growth in federal procurement has enriched private contractors. But it has also come at a steep cost for federal taxpayers. Overcharging has been frequent, and billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been squandered.
At the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, this report is the first comprehensive assessment of federal contracting under the Bush Administration. The report reaches three primary conclusions:
There is no single reason for the rising waste, fraud, and abuse in federal contracting. Multiple causes — including poor planning, noncompetitive awards, abuse of contract flexibilities, inadequate oversight, and corruption — have all played a part. The problems are widespread, undermining such major initiatives as domestic spending on homeland security, the rebuilding of Iraq, and the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
Government contracting grew by 86%.
Noncompetitive contracts grew by 115%.
Federal procurement spending is highly concentrated on a few large contractors, with the five largest federal contractors receiving over 20% of the contract dollars awarded in 2005. Last year, the largest federal contractor, Lockheed Martin, received contracts worth more than the total combined budgets of the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Congress. The fastest growing contractor under the Bush Administration has been Halliburton. Federal spending on Halliburton contracts increased over 600% between 2000 and 2005.
Dollars, Not Sense is based on a review of over 500 reports, audits, and investigations by government and independent bodies, such as the Government Accountability Office, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and agency inspectors general. It also draws on interviews with experts, the Special Investigation Division’s own extensive investigations, data from the Federal Procurement Data System, and investigative reporting.
In addition to analyzing the mammoth increase in federal contract spending, Dollars, Not Sense provides the first government-wide estimate of the number and value of “problem contracts” under the Bush Administration. The report is accompanied by a searchable database of problem contracts.