U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) are urging the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the national security risks of consulting companies contracting with the U.S. government and the Chinese government.
The senators also seek GAO examination of potential national security risks when contractors interact with Chinese state-run enterprises.
In correspondence to Comptroller General of the United States Gene Dodaro, the senators raised concerns that contractors’ outside work with the Chinese government could create conflicts of interest and undermine national security.
“We write to request the Government Accountability Office (GAO) perform an assessment of the national security risks posed by consulting firms who simultaneously contract with the U.S. federal government and the Chinese government or its proxies or affiliates,” Peters and Hawley wrote. “Companies that carry out taxpayer-funded projects for the U.S. government should be working in the best interests of the American people, and we are concerned that companies that also contract with adversaries like the Chinese government could be creating unacceptable conflicts of interest.”
The lawmakers have requested that the GAO assessment include determining the extent to which federal agencies collect information on contracts performed on behalf of the Chinese government or its proxies or affiliates by consulting firms holding or having held contracts with the U.S. government, and whether the information includes specific projects and deliverables of such contracts; evaluating the extent to which selected federal agencies have assessed the risks posed by American consulting firms’ work for the Chinese government and its proxies or affiliates; and identifying relevant contract clauses, procedures, and information used by federal agencies to identify, evaluate and resolve organizational conflicts of interest when awarding consulting contracts.