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Lawmakers Request Follow-Up GAO Study of Federal Advertising Contract Obligations to Small Businesses

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Eight members of Congress have requested the Government Accountability Office to conduct a follow-up analysis of how much advertising money the federal government allocates to small media companies.

The Democratic lawmakers sent their written request Thursday to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro and cited data from the agency’s report four years ago.

GAO found that federal advertising contracting obligations hit $870 million each year from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017 and nearly 13 percent of the total annual spending went to small disadvantaged, minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Defense and Homeland Security collectively accounted for almost three-quarters of the contracting dollars awarded to such vendors during the five-year period.

“We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and legislative actions have impacted federal advertising contracts to such a degree that a follow-up study is warranted,” the lawmakers wrote.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, congresswoman for the District of Columbia, was among the letter’s signatories.