Nader pushes for contract info online

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — Citizen advocate Ralph Nader told a gathering of government officials Sept. 2 that putting federal contracts online to increase competition and keep the public informed about how government spends money is a good idea.

Nader said the Office of Management and Budget issued a proposal for a pilot in June that would explore how to get the billions of dollars in contracts each year available electronically for the public to inspect.

He spoke at the Interagency Resources Management Conference 2003 here about citizen-focused leadership.

Putting contracts online would increase media attention of government spending and stimulate competition because there are "too many vendors who have a lock on business," Nader said.

He criticized the Homeland Security Department and Congress for throwing out traditional procurement procedures. Easing the rules for one agency hurts "accountable government," he said.

"I guarantee it is a breeder of abuse," Nader said.

He also suggested a Web site for civil servants where they could exchange ideas across agencies without bureaucratic formalities.

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