Kerry Requests GAO Study of Minority Advertising Contracts

U.S. Newswire, May 16, 2006

WASHINGTON—In an effort to ensure minority firms are getting their fair share of federal advertising contracts, today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, requested a study to determine if the federal government is aggressively pursuing a policy to expand minority advertising contracting opportunities.

“For nearly six years we’ve had a policy in place that says the federal government is supposed to be advertising in minority publications and on radio and television stations that reach minority audiences. Are they doing that? Are they aggressively contracting with minority firms?” Kerry asked. “It’s time we know how the government measures up in meeting its responsibility to reach out to all sectors of the American economy and in keeping its commitment to minority entrepreneurs.”

Executive Order 13170, signed in October 2000, directs federal agencies to expand all contracting opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), and firms participating in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) business development program, including in information technology and General Service Administration schedules. The Executive Order specifically requires each federal agency to “take an aggressive role in ensuring substantial minority-owned entities’ participation, including 8(a), SDB, and MBE, in federal advertising-related procurements.”

Kerry sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking them to:

—Determine which federal agencies have developed plans to comply with the order and to what extent there were shortfalls in compliance; and

—Find out how many contracts were awarded to SDB, MBE and 8(a) firms; and

—Examine the total amount of federal dollars spent on advertising 2001-2005, and of that, how much money went to SDB, MBE and 8(a) small businesses.

To read Kerry’s letter, please visit: http://sbc.senate.gov/democrat/record.cfm?id=255676.

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