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Watchdogs Rejoice

Government watchdog bloggers – like those at the Sunlight Foundation and Government, Inc. – are in an unusually happy mood this morning as a bill meant to expose rogue government contractors passed the House yesterday afternoon. The "Contractor and Federal Spending Accountability Act" sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) would set up a public database- maintained by the General Services Administration- showing all contractors who’ve broken the law or violated the terms of their contract. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced yesterday that she’ll introduce a Senate version of the bill.

Maloney’s bill sounds awfully modest ("Not a database!" screams Blackwater), but there’s currently no way of knowing if the $430 billion annually spent on government contracting is being properly used. Along with monitoring these contractors, private companies will also be forced to report their subcontractors- who are often in charge of executing the contract’s stated goals.

Currently, the closest thing to a full database is the Project on Government Oversight’s "Federal Contractor Misconduct Database." Over at POGO’s blog, Michael Smallberg praised the contractor accountability act as a more authoritative way to "separate the good contractors from the bad and the ugly."

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