Corruption in Government Contracting

Topics: False Claims Act, Contractual term, Contract Pages: 12 (4590 words) Published: September 20, 2012
Corruption in Government Contracting

Corruption, what is it and why does it seem to flourish in the world of business and in particular government contracting? Corruption as defined by Webster’s dictionary is a lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain (“corruption,” 2010). All over the world there are stories of corruption from money laundering, unfair awarding of contracts, bribery, and even espionage. Procurement and contracting seem to be one of the areas most prone to corruption, which inevitably has a bearing on how effective public spending can be. Additionally, corruption impairs government agencies as well as private companies because it increases production costs, eliminates true competitiveness, and in a nutshell is not good for business. The purpose of government contracting is to facilitate business transactions between different companies, big or small, with government agencies in order to meet the needs of the government. Contracting is the main way a government operates and public money is spent. Thus, contracts are the main channels for implementing public policy, which makes stopping and controlling corruption in procurement a determining factor in policy and project efficiency. While corruption can take place in any phase of the contracting process, it seems to be most prevalent during the evaluation phase because this is the time that potential bids are analyzed in order to select the most appropriate contractor, but the risks are not limited to this phase alone. Corruption can occur even before a contracting process starts, when decisions are made about what to contract because some project rewards start off allocated to a specific contractor. Furthermore, there is also opportunity for abuse once the contracting process has finished and the contractor has been selected. This can include a lack of performance, wanting to renegotiate contracts, over-billing the client, and non-compliance just to name a few. Business that may be contracted with the government include a broad range of things, from building or soliciting parts to build fighter jets, providing copy services, conducting payroll, or even providing all office supplies for an agency. All of the jobs mentioned above are in one way or another essential for the growth and maintenance of government agencies and therefore are instrumental for the United States to remain functioning on a day to day basis. To gain a better understanding of the current representation of corruption in government contracting, it would be valuable to take a look at several areas that have had or continue to have a direct impact on government contracting. These areas include the history of government contracting and why it was established in the first place, the contracting process, a specific corruption case within government contracting, and any law that has been passed to help combat corruption in government contracting. According to Phung Nguyen, author of “A History in Government Contracting”, government contracting began during the French and Indian Wars as militaries needed a way to provide weapons and other materials to their troops in order to sustain the supplies needed for combat. As a result of the United States involvement in numerous wars throughout history as well as wars of the present day, military contracting serves as the main focus of American federal procurement, which has made military operations critically imperative to America’s prominence as an industrial and world influence. It is a natural progression of thought to think that huge military contracts would have a significant influence on nation building, which is the thought process of Historian Geoffrey Perret, author of “A Country Made by Wars: From Revolution to Vietnam: The Story of America’s rise to Power”. He states “if war has been the Genesis of technological invention, then military contracts have been...

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