Sen. Stevens defends Alaska Native contracting

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said Alaska Native corporations who enter into contracts with the federal government need more oversight but defended their inclusion in small business programs.

Stevens said he doesn't dispute a Government Accountability Office report that found lack of oversight of contracts. But he said the corporations are making money and sharing it with Alaska Native shareholders, just as Congress intended when it made corporations eligible for minority set-asides.

But the growth of the Alaska Native contracting industry -- from $265 million in 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2004 -- has sparked concerns among Democrats, some Republicans, other minority businesses and unions. They say the Alaska Native corporations receive preferential treatment even though they sometimes hand out most of the work to non-Native companies.

The GAO report has yet to be made public but drafts have been circulating in recent weeks. News organizations landed a copy earlier this week.

Once the report is issued, the House Committee on Government Reform is expected to hold hearings.

Get the Story:
Stevens defends program (The Anchorage Daily New 4/13)

Relevant Links:
Native American Contractors Association - http://www.nativeamericancontractors.org

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