Blacklisting rules revoked

A rule that could have barred contractors with legal problems from doing business with the federal government died a quiet death in late December.

The Bush administration revoked the controversial federal regulation, also known as the blacklisting rule, with a notice in the Dec. 27 Federal Register.

The rule, issued in the last days of the Clinton administration, went into effect Jan. 19, 2001. It would have required contracting officers to take into account bidders' compliance with labor, tax, employment, antitrust, environmental and consumer protection laws when determining if a company is a responsible business and, therefore, eligible to win contracts.

Industry groups, such as the Business Roundtable, opposed the rules. The Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executive officers, filed suit to overturn the rule on the grounds that it would deny federal contracts to bidders based on arbitrary decisions and would violate due process protections for contractors.
Supporters of the regulation, including organized labor, said it would protect the government from unscrupulous vendors.

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