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Federal stimulus contracts favor large firms

A story by Michael Jamison of the Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.) shows that the contracting scheme the federal government is employing to award stimulus contracts favors large corporations over small- and medium-sized firms.  In an effort to speed up the bidding process, the federal government is using indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, or IDIQ, contracting.  "An IDIQ is a broad and open-ended agreement, in which the government essentially creates a sort of long-term, all-purpose contract under which specific tasks can later be defined. The scheme moves projects quickly - which is a priority for economic stimulus jobs - but critics argue it's anti-competitive, because only a handful of large firms can afford to engage on such undefined and unrestricted terms."  In Montana, a local contractor successfully completed four federal border stations over the last several years.  Stimulus money is funding the erection of several more ports, but the contract was awarded to Parsons Corp., a California company.  Parsons is not new to federal contracts, and is linked to several failed building projects in Iraq.

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