Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced that she will reintroduce her bill requiring the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to comply with federal contracting regulations, which will now include a requirement that MWAA comply with federal anti-nepotism laws, when Congress returns next week. Norton's announcement comes on the heels of another report of no-bid contracts and an unusual number of family members working at the agency. Norton introduced her original bill last year during the lame-duck session, after a report from the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General found significant problems with MWAA's contracting policies and procedures, pointing to the need for substantial reform in MWAA's acquisition process.
"Reports of MWAA's problems continue while the agency slowly reinvents the wheel for competitive contracting and employee and officer ethics instead of adopting and tailoring existing federal regulations proven to do the job," Norton said. "Writing its own rules could help, but might not restore credibility to MWAA. If the point is to signal a new day, there is no better way to do it than to subject MWAA to federal nepotism restrictions and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, which governs every aspect of the acquisition process for virtually every federal executive branch agency. The federal government owns the airports that MWAA operates, so it makes perfect sense that federal regulations apply for MWAA's contracting and acquisition processes."
MWAA was created by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986 and a compact between the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. It manages Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport under a lease with DOT and employs more than 1,400 people. MWAA is also responsible for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project, which will cost an estimated $5.8 billion, $977 million of which is federal money.