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The internal watchdog urged the Transportation Department to use far more vigilance to stop bad actors from remaining eligible for contracts.

“Suspension and debarment actions are among the government’s strongest tools to deter unethical and unlawful use of Federal funds,” the inspector general said. “Since DOT distributes several billion dollars annually through its DBE program, it is important that the Department strengthen its controls to ensure that suspended and debarred firms — such as those identified in our ongoing review — do not participate in the DBE program.”