Political Beat

Herrera Beutler’s bill would penalize fraudulent government contractors

After a company gets busted for lying about its qualifications in order to score a federal transportation contract, there’s no law in place preventing that fraudulent business from applying for and receiving government contracts in the future, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, says.

She said she hopes to put a stop to that with a piece of legislation that would require the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to prohibit any federal transportation money from going to companies that have been caught lying in order to secure a government contract. In some cases, companies provide false information so they can gain access to opportunities meant for small and disadvantaged businesses, Herrera Beutler said.

“A loophole in federal law allows businesses disqualified from the (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) program for cheating the system to continue to work on federally-funded transportation projects — and get paid for it,” according to a news release from Herrera Beutler’s office.

“For every crooked contractor that continues to collect taxpayer dollars, that leaves one less opportunity for a struggling small business to compete,” Herrera Beutler said in the statement. “When it comes to spending the public’s money, there is simply no room for fraud or abuse at any level.”

The bill, House Resolution 1088, was referred to committee on Tuesday.

Stevie Mathieu

Stevie Mathieu is a political writer at The Columbian. Contact her at 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics.

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