Senate hearing on Native corporation contracts

The Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight holds a hearing this afternoon to examine government contracting for Alaska Native corporations.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), the subcommittee chair, says she has an open mind about the issue. But she says Native firms are winning too many "no-bid" contracts, to the detriment of other small businesses.

"I have no problem that ANCs have grown and become successful," McCaskill told USA Today. "The issue is whether the American taxpayer is getting the best value for their dollar in government contracting."

Native corporations and tribal businesses are responding with a major lobbying effort on Capitol Hill aimed at showing how their businesses are helping Alaska Natives and American Indians. They launched a web site, Native 8(a) Works, to counter McCaskill's claims.

"We don't want to be punished for our success," said Lance Morgan, member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska who runs Ho-Chunk Inc, the tribe's economic development firm. "Nobody says we're doing a bad job. They just seem to resent the fact that we have a job," Morgan said. "This was the government's idea, not ours."

The hearing takes place at 2:30pm in Room SD-342 of the Senate Dirksen Senate Office Building. The witness list follows:
Panel I
Shay Assad Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Acquisition & Technology / Director, Defense Procurement & Acquisition Policy, Department of Defense
Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development, Small Business Administration
Debra Ritt, Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, Office of Inspector General, Small Business Administration

Panel II
Sarah L. Lukin, Executive Director, Native American Contractors Association
Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
Mark Lumer, Senior Vice President, Federal Programs, Cirrus Technology, Inc.
Christina Schneider, Chief Financial Officer, Purcell Construction Corporation

Get the Story:
Report: Alaska program for fed contracts does little for Natives (USA Today 7/16)
Native no-bid contracting sows tension in US Senate (The Anchorage Daily News 7/16)
Hearing to question privileges set aside for Alaska native firms (The Federal Times 7/15)

Committee Notice:

Related Stories:
Tex Hall: Hunting Indians at Capitol Hill hearing (7/15)
Report cites unfair advantage for Native firms (7/15)
Alaska Native corporations prepare for hearing (7/14)
Interview: Ho-Chunk CEO on Native contracting (07/01)
Senate panel probes Alaska Native corporations (6/24)
Alaska Native corporation worried about probe (5/20)
Alaska Native corporations under more scrutiny (5/19)