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Federal Prison Industries/UNICOR: The newest 'Red Baron' of federal contracting?

Monday, July 16, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Guy Timberlake (
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My new friend, attorney and author Steven Koprince starts his latest blog with (paraphrased), "When is a HUBZone set-aside not really a HUBZone set-aside? When Federal Prison Industries submits an offer."
His piece discusses the result of a recent GAO bid protest where Defense Logistics Agency awarded a contract to Federal Prison Industries as the result of a HUBZone competition. Funny thing is, they are not a HUBZone program participant.
And therein lies the rub.
So if it can happen during a HUBZone competition, then it can likely happen during competitions set-aside for Women-Owned, Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned, 8(a) as well as the cornerstone of these programs, Small Businesses. Which means, pretty much in the same way Alaskan Native Corporations (ANC) were able to pull a "Red Baron" on other socioeconomic programs in the past, the newest "bad guy" is UNICOR.
Why is that, I wonder? After all, they are not even a small business. Yet they apparently get to run amuck and take dollars from America's small businesses, and GAO says they can.
Think about it.
How do small businesses actually conduct market research on opportunities when things are not what they appear to be, like the rules. You probably end up feeling like World War I pilots flying missions just knowing Baron von Richtofen was waiting to swoop down from the clouds for the kill.
Let's hope current legislative efforts to eliminate UNICOR’s mandatory source preference gets traction, quickly.


The Chief Visionary


"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

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