Recommended commitment on beneficial ownership transparency in government contracting and funding for the U.S. Third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan Issue Statement: Around the world, governments spend $9.5 trillion each year on public works, goods and services. In Fiscal Year 2014, the U.S. federal government procured more than $445 billion. Research by the United Nations has found that corruption may amount to as much as 25% of government procurement budgets. Anonymously owned companies have proven to be a common facilitator of fraud in public procurement. The result of such fraud harms all of us in the form of lower quality infrastructure and services, higher prices, wasted tax dollars and decreased trust in government. A more transparent operating environment, facilitated by the collection and publication of beneficial ownership information, would lead to higher quality, cost efficient and more timely investment outcomes in government contracting. It has the potential to open space for legitimate business to enjoy increased access to the market, while incentives emerge for suppliers to reduce costs as well as other costs over time—creating the type of competition that drives innovation. The U.S. government has endorsed high-level principles on beneficial ownership transparency in the G8 and G20, and is working on procurement principles through the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group. Requiring companies that bid for U.S. government contracts to publicly disclose beneficial ownership information would demonstrate U.S. leadership and a commitment to implementing innovative solutions to stop fraudsters and other criminals from hiding behind companies to rip off U.S. taxpayers, businesses and the government. Commitment: The Administration will require all U.S. agencies to collect, verify and publish on a centralized website, such as the System for Award Management (SAM), information on the beneficial owners for any entity other than a publicly listed company, including the primary contractor and its subcontractors at any subsequent tier1, upon registration for the right to bid for and/or receive government funds, and any changes of beneficial ownership on record thereafter within 60 days. For an entity already registered, the Administration will require that entity to disclose its beneficial ownership information to remain eligible to bid and/or receive future government funds. Beneficial ownership information shall include, at a minimum, the full name, birth date, city of residence, and nationality of each natural person who (i) directly or indirectly exercises substantial control over a corporation or limited liability company; or (ii) has a substantial interest in or receives substantial economic benefits from the assets of a corporation or limited liability company. The Administration will publish such beneficial ownership information in a widely used format, which is searchable, sortable, platform-independent, machine-readable and not proprietary. This information will be made publicly available on an existing, centralized website such as USAspending.gov or data.gov consistent with the DATA Act Exchange Standards and the Open Contracting Data Standard. 1
Other than subcontracts for commercially available off-the-shelf items
The public disclosure of beneficial ownership information of a contractor and/or a subcontractor may be waived by the President of the United States only if it is determined necessary for the national security of the United States. The President of the United States must report to Congress within 180 days after each calendar year the number and justification for the waivers. Timeline: Six Months: o New rule to collect, publish and verify beneficial ownership information in the Federal Register. 1 Year: o U.S. government includes field(s) for contracts and subcontractors to input beneficial ownership information in to SAM; o Any new registrants must include beneficial ownership information in SAM; o Freeze existing registrants’ profiles (without contracts) until beneficial ownership field(s) updated in SAM. 2 Year: o Existing outstanding contractors must update registration information with beneficial ownership details; and their subcontractors must register, including beneficial ownership information; o Beneficial ownership information/data is released in accordance with the DATA Act Exchange Standards and Open Contracting Data Standard.