Some of the world’s largest companies have benefited from a little-known law that lets the Defense Department override decisions barring contractors accused or convicted of bribery, fraud, theft, and other crimes from doing business with the government.
International Business Machines Corp., Boeing Co., BP Plc, and several other contractors have received special dispensation to fulfill multimillion-dollar government contracts through “compelling reason determinations.” That process allows the Defense Department in rare cases to determine that the need to fulfill certain contracts justifies doing business with companies that have been suspended from government work.
The 22 determinations were released by the General Services Administration at the request of Bloomberg Government, allowing for the first collective examination of the cases and the system that allowed them.
The determinations, also referred to as waivers or overrides, included contracts to provide food services for Defense Department personnel at an Army base in Afghanistan, “vital” web-hosting services for an agency that serves the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community, and aviation fuel sold to the Defense Logistics Agency.
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