Alaska Native Corporations: Increased Use of Special 8(a) Provisions Calls for Tailored Oversight

GAO-07-1251T Published: Sep 19, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2007.
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Alaska Native corporations (ANC) were created to settle land claims with Alaska Natives and foster economic development. In 1986, legislation passed that allowed ANCs to participate in the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) program. Since then, Congress has extended special procurement advantages to 8(a) ANC firms, such as the ability to receive sole-source contracts for any dollar amount and to own multiple subsidiaries in the 8(a) program. We were asked to testify on an earlier report where we identified (1) trends in the government's 8(a) contracting with ANC firms, (2) the reasons agencies have awarded 8(a) sole-source contracts to ANC firms and the facts and circumstances behind some of these contracts, and (3) how ANCs are using the 8(a) program. GAO also evaluated SBA's oversight of 8(a) ANC firms. GAO made recommendations aimed at improving SBA's oversight of 8(a) ANC contracting activity and ensuring that procuring agencies properly oversee 8(a) contracts they award to ANC firms. SBA has either taken action or plans to take action on the recommendations. The procuring agencies generally agreed with our recommendation to them. We believe implementation of our recommendations will provide better oversight of 8(a) ANC contracting activity and provide decision makers with information to know whether the program is operating as intended.

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