Transparency Comes to Government Contracting

by on June 20, 2009 · 11 comments

I previously lauded the Sunlight Foundation for its intention to bid on the contract for updating There’s been extensive excessive discussion of it on the Open House Project Google group.

The general theme among the one or two critics has been “leave the incompetence to the experts.” They’ve been a bit curmedgeonly, frankly.

But an informative and balanced comment highlights the practice of “wiring” government contracts. The contracting authority gets together with the preferred contractor and they collaborate to make it very difficult for anyone else to win the bid.

Well, that’s why Sunlight’s bid is so interesting and different. As I said, “[T]he contract award will now be subject to public scrutiny. Value-for-dollar to the taxpayer will be easily discernible, and that will raise the political risk if the contract is awarded based on cronyism or go-with-whatchya-knowism.”

Government contracting officials aren’t used to encountering public scrutiny and political risk for their award decisions. They’re going to experience it here, and they should get used to it for the long haul. I am eager – nay, giddy! – to report on what happens.

Kudos, and carry on, Sunlight.

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