President Obama in 2009 told federal agencies that no-bid contracts were “wasteful’’ and “inefficient.’’ Four years later, his administration spent more money on non-competitive contracts than ever before.
Federal agencies awarded $115.2 billion in no-bid contracts in fiscal year 2012, an 8.9 increase from $105.8 billion from 2009, according to government data. The jump unfolded even as total contract spending decreased by about 5 percent. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon were top recipients of sole-source contracts.
Those top Pentagon vendors and other large contractors can draw on established relationships with procurement officers to claim a greater share of non-competitive work, said Robert Burton, former acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy under George W. Bush.
“It highlights a growing problem in the procurement system,’’ said Burton, who represents contractors as a partner at Venable in Washington. “The pie is shrinking, but at the same time, the number of non-competitive awards has increased. That’s a bad combination.”
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