Petaluma, Calif. - The following is a statement by American Small Business League President Lloyd Chapman:
In its present form, the bailout bill will give Bush Administration officials broad power to waive any provision of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) they choose for an indefinite period of time.
Section 107 of the bill could be a recipe for disaster at a time when the national economy has plummeted as the direct result of a blatant lack of proper government oversight. It would be foolhardy and irresponsible for Congress to grant the very individuals that are directly responsible for one of the worst economic disasters in United States history even more power to ignore federal procurement law for as long as they deem necessary.
The multitude of problems that could arise by allowing government officials to ignore even the most foundational principals of the FAR could be catastrophic. Staggering abuses in federal contracting are a common occurrence. Many of the nation's largest defense contractors are regularly found to be defrauding the federal government out of hundreds of millions and even billions in taxpayer dollars.
Waiving provisions of the FAR could result in billions of dollars in fraud and abuse at multiple levels of government. Government officials cannot be trusted with the power to waive any federal procurement law they deem unnecessary.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs before he came to Washington and he will no doubt be back on Wall Street in an equally if not more powerful position in 90 days. Of all the Bush Administration officials that deserve their fair share of responsibility for our nation's financial disaster, Treasury Secretary Paulson's name should be close to the top of the list.
Treasury Secretary Paulson should not be trusted to waive provisions of the FAR, which could be beneficial to his past and future employers on Wall Street and detrimental to the primary goal of the bailout bill, which is to bolster the national economy. More fraud, abuse and loopholes for Wall Street and government officials will not make our nation's financial institutions more sound, create more jobs or help middle class Americans pay their bills.
American Small Business League