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ITAA Blasts Competition<@VM>'Spring Reviews' Done<@VM>SEC Gets Warning

The practice of public-private competitions for information technology contracts does not account for best value to government customers, according to the Information Technology Association of America, Arlington, Va.

Testifying June 11 before the General Accounting Office's commercial activities panel, ITAA President Harris Miller said IT services should be exempt from the public-private competition requirements of OMB circular A-76. But, he added, where the competitions continue, outsourcing commercial activities should allow for more competitions to be considered on a best-value basis, not just low cost.

Miller also called for more outsourcing of commercial activities to combat the growing IT work-force shortage in the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget has completed 19 "Spring Reviews" to take an unprecedented look at the performance of federal agency programs to determine how they can be improved, OMB Deputy Director Sean O'Keefe told the House Intergovernmental Relations subcommittee on government efficiency at a June 19 hearing.

These reviews, however, also identified areas where better data is needed to assess performance, O'Keefe said.

O'Keefe and OMB have been examining how to best use the resulting data from the Government Performance and Results Act, which requires the agencies to produce annual performance plans.
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, in a June 12 letter warned the Securities and Exchange Commission against regulating financial Internet portals that make investment-related information available to consumers.

"Absent direction from Congress, there is no basis for the SEC to extend regulation to Internet portals," Tauzin said in a letter to acting SEC Chairman Laura Unger.

The SEC, he added, "has had a regrettable tradition of attempting to regulate in areas over which it lacked jurisdiction," and "Internet portals should not become part of this tradition."

Just as online brokers are subject to the same regulatory regime as traditional brokers, Internet based financial Web sites should be treated no differently than traditional counterparts in print, television and radio media, he said.

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