Alaska Natives grab senator's attention

Senator McCaskill wants infor from ANCs

Twenty Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) received letters this week from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

McCaskill, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, wants to know more about the ANC businesses and their special set-aside status in federal contracting. Regulations allow the government to award the ANCs sole-source contracts and contracts without competition.

Based on a letter sent  May 12 to Charles Totemoff, president and chief executive officer of Chenega Corp., of Anchorage, Alaska, McCaskill is asking for:

  • The salaries and compensation the company pays its executives and cash dividends paid to shareholders.
  • The company's size and its total revenue and operating expenses.
  • How much money the company received from federal contracts and subcontracts each year from 2000 to 2008.

McCaskill's subcommittee scheduled a hearing for July 16 to take a closer look at the companies.

Six ANCs ranked on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of information technology contractors, with one being in the top 50. NANA Regional Corp. nearly doubled in contracting dollars, jumping from $214.8 million in fiscal 2007 to $427.6 million in 2008. Also among to top 100:

  • Arctic Slope Regional Corp. was No. 58 with $319 million in 2008.
  • Chenega was No. 61 with $305.5 million.
  • Eyak Technology LLC was No. 65 with $281.4 million.
  • Chugach Alaska Corp. was No. 74 with $218.6 million.
  • Alutiiq LLC was No. 91 with $171.1 million.

ANCs were established in 1971, and in 1986 they were made eligible for a Small Business Administration program that allows firms to be awarded federal contracts noncompetitively. Government Accountability Office officials say agencies find the ANC exemption an advantage when they need to award a contract quickly.

SBA’s programs put restrictions on sole-source contracts and company size, but ANCs are exempt. They can enter sole-source contracts of any value. ANCs can also subcontract work to companies that don’t qualify for SBA’s 8(a) small-business program and enter into joint ventures and partnerships with non-native companies for sole-source contracts.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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