Groups Urge Federal Government to Reject Big Labor Power Grab.

WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist today joined with leaders of 15 other prominent conservative organizations in opposition to efforts by Big Labor and others to have telecommunications firm MCI (formerly WorldCom) debarred from the federal government contracting process.

In a letter to the head of the General Services Administration (GSA), Stephen Perry, the groups describe how the debarment of MCI would only serve to harm taxpayers and consumers, and undermine jobs and the economy. The letter can be found on ATR\’s website at

"No qualified company should be denied access to the competitive bidding process for political or public relations reasons," the letter states. "[T]he taxpayers and consumers of government services, not to mention the employees and shareholders of the company in question, would be the ones to suffer."

The letter points out that the debarment of MCI could even jeopardize systems that are vital to the nation\’s security. The company provides services that are key to the effective operation of communications at the Department of Defense, FBI and other law enforcement authorities, as well as medical facilities, air traffic control and other critical infrastructure associated with homeland security.

The letter to GSA Administrator Perry was sent in response to recent calls by leaders of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and others on the left for non-unionized MCI to be excluded from government contracts as punishment for the misdeeds of its former management.

"Although the call for MCI\’s debarment has been done in the name of the \’public good,\’ some of the groups involved have their own political axe to grind," said Norquist. "CWA not only represents workers at some of MCI\’s largest rivals, its attempts to organize the company\’s workforce several years ago were rejected by MCI employees. Debarment of MCI would be political payback for CWA\’s defeat."

ATR and the other groups further argue that, were the federal procurement process to become politicized and MCI debarred, this would undermine the "long-term health of the competitive bidding process," and its ability to save taxpayer money and to improve government services now and in the future.

"Good government, honest government, demands that qualified companies have equal access to competitive bidding, and not be shut out for political reasons," the letter concludes.

The groups are also planning to write to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) , who chairs the Committee on Governmental Affairs, and who is examining the issue of whether MCI should be allowed to compete for federal contracts.