Jack Brooks

PEOPLE

Jack Brooks, father of modern procurement, dead at 89

Long-time congressman opened IT buying to competition

The man considered to be the father of modern IT procurement died Tuesday, at the age of 89, in a hospital in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas.

Jack Brooks was a Democrat from Texas who served in the U.S. Congress for 42 years. Among his accomplishments is the 1965 Brooks Act, legislation that opened government IT procurement to competition.

The act mandated procurement competition, lowest price bidding and centralized management of IT. The law has been credited with helping to build the IT industry and for spurring innovation at government agencies.

In 2002, he was recognized by GCN as the top civilian executive of the last 20 years.

“I wanted the government to be on the leading-edge of technology, and it is,” he said at the time.

While in Congress, he chaired the House Government Operations Committee and the Judiciary Committee. He introduced the Government Paperwork Reduction Act, and the legislation that created the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and independent inspector generals at major government agencies.

A life-long Democrat, Brooks was a protégé of fellow Texan, and long-time House Speaker, Sam Rayburn.

Brooks was in the motorcade in Dallas in 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated, according to his obituary in the Dallas Morning News.

While serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Brooks drafted the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. Nixon later called him the executioner.

He was reelected to Congress 20 times, but was voted out of office in 1994 as Republicans took control of the House.

He was born Dec. 18, 1922, in Acadia Parish, La., and moved to Beaumont, Texas, in 1927. He lived there the rest of his life.

He and his wife had three children and two grandchildren.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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