GOVERNMENT BREAKS ITS OWN NON-COMPETITION LAW

BY CCIA Staff
March 21, 2000

CCIA ASKS THE ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ELECTRONIC COMMERCE TO INVESTIGATE GOVERNMENT VS PRIVATE COMPETITION

 

Washington, DC- The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) sent a letter to the Chairman, Jim Gilmore III, of the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce asking that body address the issue of government agencies launching consumer electronic services that are in direct competition with the commercial offerings of the private sector.

“As government agencies seek to reengineer and expand their missions, they are moving into commercial territory. Government competition in electronic commerce severely impacts private e-commerce markets because few businesses can stand up to the virtually unlimited resources of the public treasury,” stated Ed Black, CCIA President/CEO.

One example of how government has undertaken commercial enterprise in competitive private markets are the recently announced plans of the U.S. Postal Service to begin offering electronic bill presentment and payment as a service of the United States Government. Another example is the planning by the Internal Revenue Service to procure and launch electronic tax preparation software services for consumers.

“We believe that the Government crossing the line into commercial activity and becoming a marketer, distributor and provider of Electronic Commerce services would be an inexplicable waste of taxpayer funds. However, there is a lot that the Public and Private Sectors should do together, through Public Private Partnerships,” stated Black.

Every President since Dwight Eisenhower has affirmed the long established public policy of non-competition that was handed down in the form of OMB Circular A-76 which emphatically states that:

“…The Government shall not start or carry on any activity to provide a commercial product or service…”

CCIA believes that it is important in this age of rapidly growing e-commerce that this policy be enforced and followed.

For a copy of the letter to Chairman Gilmore please email gminchak@ccianet.org or call 202-783-0070.

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