Alaska Native deal criticized
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JUNE 14, 2001

House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) is one of several Democrats who are calling on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to review a decision to award a $2 billion contract to an Alaska Native firm.

Under special bidding procedures at the Department of Defense, the contract was awarded to a joint venture of Arctic Slope Regional Development Corp. and Chenega Corp. Both are corporations formed through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. Arctic Slope is one of the 13 regional corporations.

The Democrats say the deal is part of Senator Ted Stevens' (R-Alaska) alleged penchant for unfairly using his influence as former Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to benefit Alaska Natives. Such allegations aren't new: Stevens pushed a housing plan by an Alaska Native corporation which was later found to have been improperly approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

American Federation of Government Employees, a labor union, is also protesting because they say the contracting provisions are race-baed. The union is involved in a similar lawsuit challenging a contract awarded to Chugach Corp., another Alaska Native corporation.

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