States Do Business with Firm Banned from Federal Contracts

LANSING — More than half the states hire private contractors without reviewing whether the companies have been barred from doing business with the federal government, the Associated Press recently found.

Fourteen states, including Michigan, told AP that their contracting offices don't check the federal government's Internet-accessible list of companies it says it will not hire because of various infractions. Twenty other states said they consult the list only occasionally, and John Truscott, spokesman for Gov. Engler, said Michigan doesn't check the list because it conducts its own checks.

Of the 700 Michigan individuals and companies that made the federal list, a computer analysis of state transactions from 1995 to April of 1999 revealed only six that had received any money from the state. Michigan officials claim none currently receives state funds.

About 24,000 companies and individuals are barred from doing business with the federal government for infractions that range from violation of drug-free workplace laws to embezzlement and contract fraud.