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Unmaking a List

It'll take more than "credible evidence" to keep you out of government contracting.

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This story appears in the April 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Despite some expected political spade work from congressional Democrats, the so-called "blacklisting" rules canceled by the Bush administration at the end of December are expected to stay dead and buried.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation, imposed by President Clinton in December 2000, allowed federal contracting officers to block a company from obtaining a federal contract based on "any credible evidence" the business had broken any laws. "This rule gave government agents blanket discretion to blacklist federal contractors based on subjective and arbitrary notions of satisfactory compliance with any federal, state or even foreign law," says Randel Johnson, vice president for labor and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Johnson contends that the rule, had the Bush administration allowed it to go into effect, would have hit small businesses especially hard.

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