Watchdog Groups Call for Improvements in Contractor Misconduct Database

November 18, 2009

Two watchdog groups are urging the federal government to tighten the accountability of federal contractors by fixing problems with a new contractor misconduct database — known officially as the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).

The General Services Administration has sought public comment on its proposal for implementing the database, which was authorized by the fiscal 2009 Defense Authorization.

Both nonprofit watchdogs, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and OMB Watch, support the idea of a public database to track misconduct by federal contractors. The database could be a valuable tool for environmental reporters, because some companies continue to receive billions of dollars worth of federal contracts despite violations of environmental laws and regulations.

POGO had maintained its own federal contractor misconduct database in the absence of a systematic federal government effort to track contractor misconduct. POGO commented that the lack of benchmarks for rating agencies in the database proposed by GSA would make it hard to hold contractors accountable. POGO also said some of the data that GSA's database would draw on was unreliable.

OMB Watch complained that — among other problems — the public would not have access to the information in the federal database and federal employees would not be trained in its proper use.