The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released updated guidance regarding its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs on June 1, 2020.  The release comes just over a year since the guidance was last updated in April 2019.[1]  While these latest changes are less extensive than the most recent ones, there are some key differences that suggest the DOJ may be shifting some areas of focus when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs.
Continue Reading DOJ Updates Corporate Compliance Guidance

In 1657, mathematician Blaise Pascal commented in a letter to his church leaders “I have made this longer than usual because I did not have time to make it shorter.” More than 100 years later, another Frenchman, Napoleon Bonaparte, offered a similar remark to his valet as he prepared to head out for battle. “Dress me slowly,” he said, “I’m in a hurry.” The irony of the quotations makes people smile, but few quibble with their underlying truthfulness. Often, the more in a hurry you are, the more you need to slow down.
Continue Reading Using “Prospective Hindsight” To Identify And Mitigate Risks During A Crisis

This month, and with great fanfare, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its creation of a Procurement Collusion Strike Force.  We know what you’re thinking, and no – this
Continue Reading A Few Thoughts on DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (“OFAC”) both issued guidance regarding their expectations for corporate compliance programs. Both documents are geared towards establishing more rigid frameworks for assessing compliance programs. A common theme among both pieces of guidance appears to be the identification and allocation of responsibility to individuals, especially management. Additionally, the fact that the agencies released their guidance within days of each other could be read as a clear signal from federal authorities that they are serious about increasing their focus on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing.
Continue Reading Feds Focus on Individuals in Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

In the aftermath of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) latest Report of Investigation (“Report”) regarding cyberattacks via “spoofed or manipulated electronic communications,” companies should prepare to adjust and update their internal controls or face possible enforcement actions for violation of federal securities law.  Released as a warning to public companies about recent cyberattacks, the Report’s emphasis that companies maintain proper internal controls to combat cybersecurity issues indicates SEC enforcement actions for lack of proper cybersecurity procedures and supervision are on the horizon.    
Continue Reading Fool Me Twice…SEC’s latest Cyber-Fraud ROI Indicates Future Enforcement Against Hacker Victims

In 2012, the Penn State Lions went 8-4 on the field, passing 3,283 yards, rushing 740 yards, and scoring 349 points. This credible performance earned it a respectable 38th ranking out of the 124 schools in the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. But few will remember Penn State’s athletic performance in 2012. What people will remember instead is that 2012 was the year the University’s Special Investigative Counsel issued its report into the actions of Penn State Coach Gerald Sandusky.
Continue Reading From the Big Easy to the Big Ten, And Beyond: What the Process of Reforming the New Orleans Police Department Can Teach Colleges and Universities

FAR 52.222-50 prohibits “human trafficking.” To quote the current GEICO TV commercials, “Everybody knows that.” But do you know exactly what the FAR prohibits? The answer includes some obvious pernicious acts, but it also covers some related activities that might not necessarily jump immediately to mind. Remember, these prohibitions apply to all contractors – large and small, commercial and non-commercial, whether the contract was awarded via sealed bidding or negotiation – and to their employees and agents, and they must be flowed down to subcontractors. Moreover, there is an obligation to conduct “due diligence” and certify to subcontractor compliance with the prohibitions if the subcontract exceeds $500,000 and any portion is for non-COTS supplies acquired or for services performed outside the United States.
Continue Reading Human Trafficking Is Forbidden by Government Contracts. But What Is “Human Trafficking”?

The SEC awarded more than $14 million to a whistleblower earlier this month in exchange for information that helped the SEC bring an enforcement action against the perpetrators of an investment fraud in less than six months after receipt of the whistleblower’s tip. [1] The award is the largest made by the SEC since the Office of the Whistleblower was set up in 2011 under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. According to SEC Chair Mary Jo White, the hope is that “an award like this will encourage more individuals to come forward.”
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Every now and then, the FAR Councils issue a Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) – an update to the Federal Acquisition Regulation implementing a number of changes. Often these changes are rather pro forma. But occasionally, you get a Circular with many different (and interesting) issues. FAC 2005-67, issued in late-June 2013, with rules becoming effective in June and July 2013, is one such circular. We thought it would be helpful to highlight five of these rules that raise interesting and timely issues, especially where they may signal additional changes yet to come.
Continue Reading Lots of Little Things – FAR Updates from the Federal Acquisition Circular

By Louis Victorino and Jonathan Aronie (originally published in the San Diego Business Journal)

It has been noted, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the world of Government Contracts Law, however, the more things change, the more the phone rings. And while we’re only a few weeks into 2013, the phone has been ringing off the hook. Here are a few of the reasons why.


Continue Reading What Does 2013 Have In Store for Government Contractors and Their Lawyers?

By Keith Szeliga

On December 2, 2011, Federal Acquisition Regulation Subpart 3.11 – Preventing Personal Conflicts of Interest for Contractor Employees Performing Acquisition Functions — took effect. The new Rule imposes a host of compliance obligations on contractors, including the requirement to screen for and prevent personal conflicts of interest when supporting acquisition functions. The Rule also requires contractors to prohibit covered employees from utilizing non-public information for personal gain and to obtain from covered employees executed non-disclosure agreements prohibiting the dissemination of such information.


Continue Reading Preventing Personal Conflicts Of Interest Among Contractor Employees Performing Acquisition Support Services