Apr 19, 2012

Marketing Federal Government Contracts - Tribal Government Firms

It is an unknown premise that it is both appropriate and necessary to use the Federal Government's massive procurement activity to help jump-start reservation economies via Tribally-Owned business firms. Congress has given all Tribally-Owned firms unlimited contracting unique rights such as "no bid requirement" within the federal procurement process.

Can non-tribally-owned firms joint venture with tribally-owned firms and acquire federal government non-bid contracts?

The reason for this questions is that Tribally-Owned Firms are not required to have experience for federal government contracts, thus they are allowed to subcontract the contract and share the profits.


Well, that is supposed to happen, non-tribally-owned firms and tribally-owned firms have separate functions when it comes to government contract, but nowadays is the other way around. Those who are not authorized seems are handling the main bidding process. In this field of business, naming your business in a proper way of obligation and task must always be implemented, otherwise you are violating the rules.


I'm certainly not an expert in this area, but I am pretty sure that there are regulations that limit the amount of work that can be passed on to subcontractors by tribal 8(a) firms.  The intent is to prevent exactly what you are talking about, which could be fairly be interpreted as exploitation of laws intended to foster economic development by an historically disadvantaged ethnic group by essentially treating Tribal Governments as a shell corporations.  Not only is it contrary to the intent of the law, it could lead to damaging backlashes against tribal governments if it become common knowledge that they are using the special contracting rights as 8(a) firms to secure contracts for non-tribal businesses.  I leave the question of the ethics of such practices for other to answer.  

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