OFPP hopeful Jordan gets Senate committee nod

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved the nomination of Joe Jordan, who is President Barack Obama’s choice for administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the committee’s ranking member, said she’s satisfied with Jordan as OFPP administrator despite concerns with having “considerably less experience” than previous administrators. He still is qualified to take on the job but just doesn’t have the same level of knowledge that former administrators have had, she said. Most recently, Dan Gordon had several decades of procurement experience working on all aspects of the process, Collins noted..

However, Collins reiterated some apprehension about Jordan's position on requiring contractors to include disclosure of their political contributions when submitting contract bids. The Obama administration considered requiring them, according to a draft executive order that was circulated in 2011.

Jordan had told her at his nomination hearing May 9, and in other conversations, that he is against political considerations becoming a part of contracting, but stopped short of saying he would oppose an administration effort to enact the requirement. 

“My only qualm about Mr. Jordan has to do with whether or not he will stand up to the administration,” she said.

At the same committee meeting, members approved the Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act (S. 1100), which Collins introduced with 22 other senators’ support. The bill would ban agencies from requiring contractors to include information on political contributions in their bid proposals. Other similar bills are making their way through Congress.

However, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said people should not have to disclose their personal campaign contributions, but the government should require a corporation to disclose them, in the interest of transparency in contracting.

The debate has riled up both sides. While some members of Congress opposed the president, some members have cheered on Obama in demanding the contribution information. They told him he should issue the executive order about political contributions.

Nevertheless, one House member is working toward disclosure in procurement. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) offered an amendment to the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) that would require a company to disclose campaign expenditures after it is awarded a contract. The company then would have 30 days to report. The House started to debate the authorization bill May 16.

About the Author

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

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