More than six years after the death of Lieutenant Colonel Dominic “Rocky” Baragona, the Kuwaiti contracting company responsible for the fatality continues to do business with the federal government.


 More than six years after the death of Lieutenant Colonel Dominic “Rocky” Baragona, the Kuwaiti contracting company responsible for the fatality continues to do business with the federal government. 

But six senators are working to make sure this situation isn’t repeated.  Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is re-introducing revised legislation that will hold foreign contractors accountable for their actions, and is being joined by original co-sponsors Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bob Bennett (R-UT).
 
In 2003, Lieutenant Colonel Baragona was killed in Iraq when his Humvee was struck by a supply truck driven by an employee of a Kuwaiti based contractor, Kuwait Gulf & Link Transport Company (KGL).  At the time of Baragona’s death, KGL was under contract with the U.S. Army to deliver supplies into Iraq. 

Since the accident, the Baragona family has sought to recover damages from KGL for the wrongful death of their son, but the company has refused to appear in U.S. federal court.  Moreover, the company has not faced any consequences from the Army or the Department of Defense.  KGL is still authorized to compete for contracts with the United States and has never been suspended or debarred as a result of its negligence.
 
Earlier this year, McCaskill, Nelson, Brown, Casey, and former Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) introduced the Lieutenant Colonel Dominic `Rocky' Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act (S. 526) to address current problems with jurisdiction over foreign entities and to strengthen the federal government’s ability to prevent bad actors from receiving federal contracts in the future.

The senators, joined by Collins and Bennett, re-introduced today a revised bill that does the following:
 
Establishes jurisdiction by:
o       Requiring foreign entities who choose to enter into contracts with the United States to consent to the jurisdiction of U.S. federal courts in suits brought by the United States and other authorized individuals.
o       Applying the consent provisions to civil actions involving serious bodily injury, rape, or sexual assault of a U.S. service member, government employee, or U.S. citizen contractor employee.
o       Covering prime contractors and subcontractors, as well as parent companies, subsidiaries and successor entities, for all contracts over $1 million in value.
o       Applying the consent requirements to all contracts entered into after the passage of the bill and for those contracts and blanket purchase agreements already in effect that require new task orders after passage of the bill.
 
Strengthens ability to suspend and debar contractors by:
o       Allowing for the suspension or debarment of foreign contractors for failing to appear in court to answer the covered actions in the bill.
o       Amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to give explicit authority to agencies and departments to suspend or debar foreign contractors bound by the requirements of the bill.
 
Since 2000, KGL has received nearly $44 million in prime contracts from the federal government and over $230 million from federal subcontracts.  The Defense Department has also approved KGL to bid on a new, multi-billion dollar Defense Department contract to supply food in the Middle East.