WASHINGTON -- Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the top federal contracting official asking what steps are being taken to monitor the collection of small-business contracting data in light of reports that the data is not accurate.

Kerry asked the Associate Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) to report back to the Committee with information on how the Administration is addressing concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office in letters and most recently in a hearing held in the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship last week that data from the system tracking all federal government contracting, the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG), is “inaccurate and incomplete.”

“The real question is, ‘why does the Administration continue to brag about these numbers that we know are not correct?’” said Kerry, top Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “If the Administration would spend the same amount of time working to fix this system as it spends bragging about the inaccurate results, then maybe Congress would trust the numbers they’re giving us.”

Kerry pointed out three main obstacles that prevent FPDS-NG from reporting correct data: incomplete listings that do not include the dollar value of the contract awards, incomplete information on the company that receives the contracts, and the use of temporary rather than permanent identification codes for specific companies, preventing the long-term tracking of contracts.

“Given that the FPDS is the only tool utilized by the Federal government to document agency contracting, the accuracy of this data is essential for proper oversight of the use of Federal taxpayer dollars,” Kerry wrote. “The inaccuracy of data and delays in reporting hamstring the ability of the SBA to perform proper oversight. It also raises significant doubt about the accuracy of the 23 percent government-wide small business utilization recently reported by the Small Business Administration.”