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Investigating 8(a) contracting

A new report on American Indian and Alaska Native companies shows the benefits -- and occasional shortcomings -- of a controversial government contracting program.

Alex DeMarban
Alaska's 13 Native regional corporations and the regulatory framework that governs their financial reporting will be at the center of a probe by the Government Accountability Office, the "investigative arm" of Congress.Jill Burke
Following the kickback scandal involving the U.S. Army Corps and an Alaska Native corporation, Rep. Ed Markey is calling for a Congressional hearing which will, among other things, look at the Alaska Native 8(a) program.Alex DeMarban
Balancing act: How Alaska Native corporations believe they can achieve a new level of federally-mandated transparency and simultaneously protect their business secrets and the ability to make their own decisions.Jill Burke
Smart moves: While political leaders promise to protect them, small businesses in Alaska are striving to find stable footing amid game-changing rules.Jill Burke
Alaska Natives defended federal contracting preferences, saying the 8(a) program is working and regulatory changes will eliminate the potential for fraud and abuse.Alex DeMarban
Visits to two Alaska villages illustrate the seeming disparity of benefits derived from Alaska Native corporations.Jennifer LaFleur and Michael Grabell
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, foe of federal-contracting exemptions enjoyed by Alaska Native corporations, is open to other ideas for reforming the program.Alex DeMarban
Revenues of Alaska Native corporations that are major federal contractors have grown much faster than profits and dividends they have paid to Native shareholders.Jennifer LaFleur,Michael Grabell I ProPublica
Cape Fox Corp. was prey to some of the worst abuses in a system that gives Alaska Native corporations access to no-bid government contracts of unlimited size. As federal contracting grew, benefits went to non-Native consultants instead of providing jobs, dividends to Natives.Michael Grabell I ProPublica

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