Making sure that minority advertising businesses get their fair share of government contract work has long been a pet project of John Kerry (D-MA). Now he is being joined by several of his colleagues in a call for better adherence to a 2000 executive order promiting aggressive outreach to such firms.
They are particularly critical of the Department of Defense and the Treasury Department. DoD was said to have given minority firms only 1.8% of its business and to have paid 84% less per contract than for majority firms it used. Similarly, Treasury used minority firms only 1.9% of the time and paid them 17% less per contract.
NASA, on the other hand, was very pro-active with minority firms, giving them 88.9% of its business. DoD and DoT were also exceeded by Health and Human Services (24.6%) and the Interior Department (6.4%). Kerry was joined in his call by Senate colleagues Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and by Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI).
"This report shines a spotlight on the federal government’s failure to make equal opportunity a reality, not just rhetoric," said Kerry. "The Defense and Treasury Departments are woefully behind the curve. Awarding less than two percent of advertising contracts to minority-owned and disadvantaged firms is unacceptable and this report must be a wake up call. My Committee (Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee) will keep up the pressure and stay on top of this until these agencies drastically improve their contracting practices."