Thursday, Jan. 3, 2002 | 10:03 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration repealed a Clinton-era rule that prevents the government from awarding federal contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax or other federal laws.
Business groups praised the move, contending the regulation went too far and unfairly blacklisted companies with minor infractions or that had not been proved guilty.
Unions, which preferred to call the regulation the "contractor responsibility rule," criticized the Bush administration. Any company that violates labor, employment, environmental, civil rights or other federal laws cannot be trusted to receive taxpayer-financed government contracts, union spokesmen said.
"To ordinary citizens who play by the rules every day, the Bush administration has said that it's OK for corporations that violate the law to be rewarded with millions of taxpayer dollars," the AFL-CIO said in a statement.