The Federal Government spends more money annually through grants and cooperative agreements than it does through Federal contracts. Historically, these dollars primarily have been awarded to public sector and non-profit entities. That’s changing. Post-Covid, increasingly more Federal grant and cooperative assistance dollars are finding their way to for-profit entities (whether as recipients (i.e., prime contractors) or subrecipients (i.e., subcontractors)). Sheppard Mullin partner Ryan Roberts and Capital Edge Consulting CEO Chad Braley joined the Public Contracting Institute’s Practical Matters podcast to discuss what commercial companies need to know before accepting a Federal grant (and additional information can be found in our Federal Grants Survival Guide).Continue Reading Unlocking Opportunities: Ryan Roberts and Chad Braley Discuss Grant Awards to Commercial Entities

In fiscal year 2022 alone, the Federal Government is estimated to have spent over $1 trillion in grant and assistance programs – a little less than double the Federal Government’s estimated procurement budget for the same year. This spending reflects a trend in recent years towards making more Federal dollars available for more assistance programs. The American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and even the CHIPS Act (to name a few), have created significant financial incentives for largely commercial entities to partner for the first time with the Federal Government. What marks a shift in policy are the primary partners the Federal Government is targeting for these funding opportunities: for-profit, commercial companies for providing broadband infrastructure or developing semiconductors domestically. These programs are geared towards incentivizing non-traditional grant recipients to take a bite at this ever-growing apple. From a business perspective, the trillions of dollars ripe for the taking seem too good an opportunity to pass up – but as we know from our experience in the procurement sector, doing business with the Federal Government is a different beast entirely from the commercial marketplace.Continue Reading Hot off the Presses: Sheppard Mullin Publishes its “Federal Grants Survival Guide” for Commercial, For-Profit Companies

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”?