Congressional Record: May 1, 2003 (Extensions)
Page E825-E826                     



                         HON. GERALD D. KLECZKA

                              of wisconsin

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, April 30, 2003

  Mr. KLECZKA. Mr. Speaker, earlier this month it came to light that a 
limited number of

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companies were invited to bid on post-war reconstruction contracts in 
Iraq. Most prominently, Bechtel, an engineering and construction firm, 
was awarded an initial contract of $34.6 million that could potentially 
grow to $680 million over the next year and a half. It is critical that 
openness and transparency are the hallmarks of the reconstruction 
process, and for that reason, I am introducing the ``Sunshine in Iraq 
Reconstruction Contracting Act.''
  Although legal, the bidding process thus far leaves much to be 
desired. Left unanswered are questions about why open competition was 
not allowed, and the size and scope of the reconstruction contracts 
awarded. We should all be able to agree that the U.S. government's 
reconstruction bidding process should be as open to disclosure as 
possible to ensure that there is no question of political favoritism or 
backroom deal making. After all, these contracts are spending hard-
earned taxpayer dollars, and our constituents deserve to know to whom 
their money is going and why.
  My legislation, which mirrors a bipartisan Senate measure, simply 
requires federal agencies that award contracts for Iraqi reconstruction 
activities to publicly disclose how a non-competitive contract was 
awarded, and the justification for foregoing an open-bid process.
  These details, along with a brief description of the contract's cost 
and scope, would have to be published in the Federal Register within 30 
days of the date the contract was awarded. Any classified information 
would only be provided to the chairmen and ranking members of the House 
and Senate Government Reform Committees, as well as whichever committee 
has jurisdiction over an agency that awards a non-competitive contract.
  It only makes it more difficult for the United States to hold 
ourselves up as a model for a future Iraqi government if the contracts 
the federal government awards are done with little or no competition 
and without adequate public disclosure. The Iraq reconstruction process 
should be as open as possible. This is not a partisan issue, but one 
that concerns the public interest and American credibility. I urge my 
colleagues to cosponsor this measure.