On March 24, 2016, ICAR and the Harrison Institute at Georgetown University Law Center hosted a webinar on supply chain transparency. The webinar provides case studies illustrating the need for federal contractors to disclose their supply chains. It then highlights that Congress has already passed a law (the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006) that requires U.S. federal contractors to disclose their subcontractors. However, the executive branch has failed to implement this law fully. More background information on the FFATA can be found below.
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act: Background Information
Congress passed the FFATA in 2006; it was cosponsored by Senators Tom Coburn, John McCain, Tom Carper, then Senator Obama, and others. If implemented faithfully, the FFATA would require federal government contractors to disclose their supply chains.
The FFATA applies to all federal contracts, excluding only contracts below $25,000 or contracts with companies with an income of less than $300,000. It requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to operate a searchable public database that discloses the purpose of the contract and the address, including the country, where the work is performed for both contractors and their subcontractors. Senate cosponsors were explicit that the FFATA’s objective was to disclose all subcontracts, and the agencies implementing the FFATA acknowledged that the reporting requirement covers all subcontracts, irrespective of tier. Unfortunately, the OMB has limited the reporting to exclude “supplier agreements with vendors, such as long term arrangements for materials or supplies that benefit multiple contracts.” In other words, OMB has excluded the part of supply chains that pose the greatest risk of human rights abuses.