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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Congress passed new exceptions to U.S. procurement rules. The most important new exception, passed at the recommendation of the Bush administration, raised the limit for micro-purchases - essentially unregulated purchases - from $2,500 to $250,000. In practice, this will mean that Katrina relief purchases may be made, up to $250,000 per order, without any effective transparency or competition, and without honoring the many socioeconomic requirements that are an important part of the U.S. procurement system. This comment reviews that emergency legislation, and suggests that the new law, by abandoning basic principles of sound procurement, raises real risks in the post-Katrina relief effort, including risks of corruption and risks of gross failures in best value procurement.

GW Paper Series

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 161; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 161