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Press Release

Taxpayer Group Tells Congress: Don't Take Sides, Allow Independent Review of Tanker Contract to Continue

For Immediate Release April 17, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, Va.) -- Throughout its nearly 40-year history, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has advocated for efficient, fair, and competitive bidding processes for government contracts - including military procurement. That's why NTU is urging lawmakers to allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete its review of the KC-45 aerial tanker contract without prejudice or interference. The nonpartisan NTU, the nation's largest taxpayer group, has not accepted funding from either contractor over this dispute.

"Our stance on the next generation tanker is motivated by our concern for the 130 million Americans who pay the government's bills, not out of any fealty to the firms involved in this matter," NTU President Duane Parde wrote today in an open letter to Congress.

The contract in question was re-opened to bidding following a 2002 scandal involving Boeing officials and Air Force procurement officers; the resulting re-bidding found the Northrop Grumman plane superior to its Boeing counterpart in four out of five Air Force evaluation standards and tied in the fifth. As is its right, Boeing filed a formal protest last month regarding the bidding process.

Lawmakers should allow the GAO to complete its review before considering any legislative action, Parde contended. "The GAO review procedure, while not perfect, has by far the best promise to systematically explore the next generation tanker acquisition and ascertain whether assertions of irregularities have merit," he wrote.

"Ultimately, the job of the armed forces is to protect Americans, who in turn expect the product that will achieve that goal at the lowest cost," Parde concluded. "GAO's review will provide many of the answers officials will need in determining whether or not to move forward with the KC-45 project. For the sake of the nation's service members and taxpayers, Congress should allow this investigatory phase to be completed before passing judgment."

NTU is a nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For further information on NTU's efforts to promote fair and transparent procurement procedures, visit