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Last month, the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") issued a Report entitled, "Increased Use of Alaska Native Corporations' Special 8(a) Provisions Calls for Tailored Oversight."  In it, the GAO expresses reservations about supervision of Alaska Native Corporation ("ANC") activity and makes recommendations about how to better achieve the policy objectives behind the creation of ANCs.

ANCs, according to the GAO, "were created to settle land claims with Alaska Natives and foster economic development."  In the mid-1980s, Congress granted ANCs the right to gain contracts under the Small Business Administration's ("SBA's") 8(a) program.  That right now has grown to include, in the Report’s description, "the ability to win sole-source contracts for any dollar amount." 

Partly as a result of these rights, the 8(a) program has contracted with ANCs for almost 5 times the amount it did 5 years ago.  However, according to the Report, SBA "has not tailored its policies and practices to account for ANCs' unique status and growth in the 8(a) program …."  The GAO found that the SBA has often failed, among other things, to conclude whether contracting with 8(a) ANCs harms other small businesses or whether ANCs and bigger companies are entering into agreements that comply with the goals of the program. 

According to the Report, the SBA acknowledged that changes should be made that would result in greater 8(a) ANC oversight.

This update is published by Venable LLP. Venable publications are not intended to provide legal advice or opinion. Such advice may only be given when related to specific fact situations. © Copyright by Venable LLP 2006.