A federal court filing by a fintech company revealed that it has been under investigation by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in relation to its Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan approval practices for over a year. This rare disclosure of a pre-indictment DOJ investigation warns that the government is refocusing enforcement efforts to the fintechs and financial institutions that administered PPP loans.

Continue Reading Court Filing Reveals that DOJ Is Investigating Fintech’s Administration of PPP Loans

On July 19, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Pre-Draft Call for Comments, seeking feedback on improving its Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) series of publications. The comment period currently is open and scheduled to close on September 16, 2022

Continue Reading NIST Wants Your Input – Updating NIST’s Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Guidelines

You might be wondering, “What’s so important about Organizational Conflicts of Interest (“OCIs”)?” The answer is fairly simple: understanding both what causes OCIs and how to mitigate them are critical because unmitigated OCIs can preclude a contractor from (1) competing for future contract work, (2) performing certain tasks under existing contracts, (3) transferring personnel between company organizations, (4) hiring personnel, (5) teaming with certain vendors, and/or (6) entering into certain corporate transactions. Moreover, undisclosed or unmitigated OCIs can create risk of liability under the False Claims Act. In this Part 1 of a three part series, we offer a summary of what creates OCIs and general mitigation strategies. In Part 2, we will detail how OCIs arise in protests, and in Part 3, we will address the risks of False Claims Act liability arising from undisclosed OCIs.

Continue Reading Organizational Conflicts of Interest – Part 1: A Refresher on OCIs

On June 21, 2022 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Polansky v. Exec. Health Res., 17 F.4th 376 (3d Cir. 2021), allowing the Court to review the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) authority to dismiss qui tam suits brought under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), over objections by the relators. The case invites the high Court to decide two key issues: (1) whether the DOJ has the authority to dismiss qui tam suits where it declined to intervene, and (2) what standard of review applies to such requests for dismissal. 

Continue Reading Supreme Court To Review DOJ’s Authority to Dismiss Qui Tam FCA Suits Over Objections From Relators

On April 29, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), issued the final rule on Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and

Continue Reading CMS Issues Contract Year 2023 Final Rule for Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Sponsors

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (the “FAR Council”) currently is considering amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that would elevate the consideration of climate-related risks in Federal Government contracting.

Continue Reading ESG for Government Contractors: Climate-Related Risk Considerations in Federal Procurement

Federal cannabis reform is once again on the move in Congress. On Friday, April 1, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the latest iteration of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. This is Congress’s oldest comprehensive measure, and it aims to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level by removing it from the list of controlled substances while providing certain social reforms to address the detrimental repercussions of the War on Drugs.[1]
Continue Reading The House Does It Again: MORE Act Ready for Senate Action

Procurement Collusion Strike Force

The Procurement Collusion Strike Force, formed by the Department of Justice in 2019, is ramping up enforcement pressures against government contractors. The Strike Force brings together the DOJ Antitrust Division criminal offices, state Attorneys General, and federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Federal Trade Commission.[1] The Strike Force is an effort to crack down on anticompetitive activities in public procurement, which the DOJ views as particularly susceptible to the costs of collusive activity.[2] The Department was already devoting significant resources to public procurement crimes,[3] and the Strike Force represents an intensified, all-hands approach to enforcement.

Continue Reading Government Contractors Facing Increased Antitrust Scrutiny

The inattention some companies pay to their ethics and compliance program never ceases to surprise us. You’d think the frequency of DOJ press releases and prosecutions holding companies accountable for employee wrongdoing would be enough to scare any business into directing more resources at prevention. But alas, many businesses, often over the protestations of their under-resourced Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs), continue to think they can get by with a minimalist approach to ethics and compliance. Our experience suggests otherwise.

Continue Reading DOJ’s Renewed Focus On Corporate Ethics & Compliance Programs Highlights Importance Of Organizational Integrity