Senate hearing looks at Alaska Native contracts
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A standing-room only audience crowded a Senate Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight hearing on Alaska Native corporation contracts on Thursday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), the subcommittee chair, said she was concerned that large Alaska Native corporations continue to receive contracts set aside for small businesses. She also said the corporations aren't passing on the benefits from the contracts to their shareholders in Alaska.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) eagerly defended the corporations and the 8(a) program at the Small Business Administration. Both described preferences for Alaska Native, American Indian and Native Hawaiian businesses as one of the few federal policies that has benefited Indian Country.

McCaskill's main focus was whether the Alaska Native corporations receive unfair advantages over other small businesses. She didn't appear to be concerned about tribal corporation preferences and pointed to her short tenure on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee as guiding her views.

She also said "sole source" contracts to Alaska Native corporations are not the biggest problem in federal government contracting. She wants to encourage more competition to ensure Americans are getting the best value for their tax dollars.

For a recap of the hearing, visit Indianz and Native 8(a) Works on Twitter.

"Hearing on ANCs was interesting. I think there is real potential for contracting reform in this area. More later," McCaskill said on her Twitter.

Get the Story:
Report scrutinizes Alaska Native corporation contracts (The Anchorage Daily News 7/17)
Fate of Alaska Native contracting program is unclear (Government Executive 7/17)
Senate panel: Alaska Native firms have unfair advantage (McClatchy Newspapers 7/16)
Native contracts focus of Senate committee hearing (AP 7/16)
Alaska Native contracts debated on Capitol Hill (CBS 11 News 7/16)

Committee Testimony:
Contracting Preferences for Alaska Native Corporations (July 16, 2009)

Committee Notice:

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