My Cup of IT: Show Me the Money…

By: Steve O’Keeffe

Talk religion, sex, or pay – quickest way to start a fight in a bar. But under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act – FFATA – Uncle Sam’s doing just that – publishing contractor top execs’ pay stubs on bar napkins.

Sure that you read the recent Post article trumpeting the new FFATA database of government subcontractors at This database sets out to let us see behind the mask of prime contractor awards – to show America where Federal monies really flow. For example, while many of the primes in Katrina clean-up came from the Big Easy, were they just fronts for the usual suspects – the contractors that do most of the work for Uncle Sam?
Interesting stuff, right? But one little talked about byproduct of FFATA is that the reporting process requires prime contractors to show and tell on their execs’ and subcontractor’s execs’ pay via the FFATA reporting system – question 16. This applies to all organizations that generated 80 percent of their revenue from the Federal government and/or $25 million in annual gross revenue from Federal government contracts – whether they’re public or not. This promises to make for some interesting reading – and some red faces in contract negotiations.
Fed 50 List?
So, the Federal contracts community is going to get its own version of the Forbes 50 list. Not as partial to “bling” as their commercial or Hollywood superstar counterparts, the Fed 50 cuts a more modest profile. Hence, people will be keenly interested to see who’s bringing in the big catch at the tax payer’s expense. And with the information in the open, perhaps we’ll see more gold teeth and exotic chariots in and around the Beltway?
Day Late, Dollar Short?
It’s taken some time to get the FFATA mandated capability online – we’re three years past the original deadline. But, in fairness to OMB, it’s a complicated undertaking.
That said, Fed contractor fat cats can afford to tarry before flipping their firms and heading for the shadows. Based on a quick review, seems the data quality from searches on leaves a little to be desired. Based on my searches, many companies have multiple identities. But what’s in a name? Well, if you’re Microsoft vs. Microsoft Corporation, quite a lot – that’s $861.2K vs. $152.200M. If you’re Oracle vs. Oracle Corporation, that’s $14.7M vs. $1.2B. And, if you’re Hewlett-Packard vs. Hewlett-Packard Company, that’s $34.6M vs. $10.9B. But I never was very good with numbers either…
And, considering the requirement for primes to report subcontractors on – the database that feeds the subcontractor visibility on – wouldn’t it be something if there were an easy way to see how primes are performing in registering their subcontractors? Now that would be an interesting dashboard… perhaps OMB should put in place a stop-payment order for contractors that don’t comply? For primes that want to comply, check out the online Webinar on how to report.
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I did search O’Keeffe & Company on – which shows revenue of $99.1B. You’ll find me at the dentist getting fitted for my new gold grill. Only hope that the tax man knows to set off searches with quotation marks.

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