Category Archives: Compliance

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DOJ Updates Corporate Compliance Guidance

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 … Continue Reading

Using “Prospective Hindsight” To Identify And Mitigate Risks During A Crisis

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 … Continue Reading

Small Business Money Grab Under the CARES Act Brings Enforcement Risks

The devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic already has set in, with the future of thousands of businesses hanging in the balance.  Big and small businesses alike are finding it difficult to cope with the downturn.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) provisions related to small business loans provide a … Continue Reading

The CARES Act – Who’s Minding the Store?

There is more than $2 trillion on the line and the multi-trillion-dollar question is: Who’s minding the store?  On March 27, 2020, in response to the financial set-back created by the novel COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed into law the more than $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) – … Continue Reading

Gifting Goods & Services to the U.S. Government in the Wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak

COVID-19 (a.k.a. the Coronavirus) is upon us and it looks like it is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.  In January, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the Coronavirus outbreak to constitute a Public Health Emergency, and on March 13, 2020, President Trump declared it a National Emergency.  The President … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Federal Contractor’s Survival Guide 2.0

Last week, we (Ryan and Jonathan) published the COVID-19 Federal Contractor’s Survival Guide in the Coalition For Government Procurement’s Friday Flash. The Guide was very well received – perhaps because it didn’t once instruct anyone to wash his/her hands – and several readers asked us to expand it to cover additional topics and new developments. … Continue Reading

What Does it Mean to Manufacture? Federal Circuit’s Acetris Decision Fundamentally Alters Trade Agreements Act Compliance

On February 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Acetris Health LLC v. United States, No. 2018-2399 (Feb. 10, 2020). In Acetris, the Federal Circuit was asked to interpret the country of origin requirements under the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (“TAA”) and related regulations. For … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Changes the Game for Selling Single-API Drugs to the Government

Selling drugs to the Government just got a lot simpler.  In Acetris Health LLC v. United States, No. 2018-2399 (Feb. 10, 2020), the Federal Circuit opened the Government door to all drugs “manufactured”—that is, measured, weighed, mixed, and compounded—in the United States, regardless of where the active pharmaceutical ingredient (“API”) originates.  This is a vast … Continue Reading

A Few Thoughts on DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force

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 Strike Force will not be starring in the next Avengers movie. Rather, DOJ created the Strike Force to combat antitrust crimes in Federal procurement. The … Continue Reading

The Evolution of TAA Compliance Post-Energizer – “Substantially Transformed” Has Substantially Changed

Trade Agreements Act compliance changed fundamentally three years ago. Or, so we thought on December 7, 2016, when the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”), the appellate body for country of origin determinations issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”), for the first time analyzed the meaning of “substantial transformation” under the Trade … Continue Reading

New Executive Orders Aim to Eliminate Unfair Surprise in Civil Enforcement Actions by Formalizing Guidance Documents

On October 9, 2019, the President issued two executive orders that require agencies to formally provide official guidance before enforcing any new jurisdiction or legal standards. In other words, agencies cannot take novel legal positions in civil enforcement actions or adjudications without first formally notifying the public. Building on the 2017 Sessions Memorandum and 2018 … Continue Reading

R.I.P. PPIRS

First things first, I’m sorry about the title; I couldn’t resist. The longer, alternate title would have been “Rest In Peace – the Past Performance Information Retrieval System Sleeps with the Fishes.” But that doesn’t have the same kind of obscure, punchy, epitaph-type quality that I’m aiming for. So instead, I give you get a … Continue Reading

Feds Focus on Individuals in Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

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 … 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

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 … Continue Reading

“Brand Memo” Prohibits US DOJ From Converting Agency Guidance Into Binding Legal Obligations In Civil Enforcement Actions

On January 25, 2018, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand issued a memorandum (the “Brand Memo”) limiting the use of agency guidance documents in affirmative civil enforcement cases. The memorandum builds on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ November 16, 2017 memorandum prohibiting DOJ from promulgating guidance documents that create rights or obligations that are binding on regulated … Continue Reading

FINRA Updates Its Sanction Guidelines

Earlier this month, FINRA announced changes to its Sanction Guidelines through Notice to Members 17-13. FINRA’s Sanction Guidelines are used by FINRA disciplinary hearing panels to decide what, if any, sanctions to impose in those enforcement actions in which a rule violation is found. FINRA enforcement staff and members of the defense bar utilize the … Continue Reading

Watching the Detectives: The SEC Launches a Dedicated FINRA Oversight Unit

The SEC has launched a dedicated team to oversee FINRA, according to remarks by Marc Wyatt, Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”). Congress has vested the SEC with the power to supervise FINRA, including the authority to inspect and examine. The new unit, named FINRA and Securities Industry Oversight (“FISIO”), … Continue Reading

SEC Steps Up Cybersecurity Enforcement with $1 Million Fine Against Morgan Stanley

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) recent $1 million settlement with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“MSSB”) marked a turning point in the agency’s focus on cybersecurity issues, an area that the agency has proclaimed a top enforcement priority in recent years.  The MSSB settlement addressed various cybersecurity deficiencies that led to the misappropriation of … Continue Reading

REGULATORS, QUANT UP! New Rules from FINRA, SEC and CFTC Target Automated Algorithmic Trading

On February 11, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) filed a proposed rule with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that would require individuals who “design, develop or significantly modify algorithmic trading strategies” (or “ATS”) as well as individuals responsible for the “day-to-day supervision or direction of the development process,” to pass a qualification … Continue Reading

Look Before You Leap – Pitfalls and Trip Wires Inherent in Government Contracting

Accepting money from the Government, whether through a contract, grant, or other transaction, does not come for free. In the commercial world, companies typically engage in a cost/benefit analysis when they make major decisions, such as whether to enter a new line of business, extend their product line, open new facilities, or expand globally. To … Continue Reading

It’s (Not) Academic: Cybersecurity Is a Must for Universities and Academic Medical Centers

Cutting-edge research institutions need cutting-edge cybersecurity to protect their IP and critical personal and financial data.  Universities hold vast repositories of valuable information, including student healthcare information, patient information from academic medical centers, and financial and personal data from applicants, donors, students, faculty, and staff. So it’s no surprise hackers have been targeting universities lately—in … Continue Reading

Contractors Beware: An Overly Broad Confidentiality Agreement Could Cost You!

On October 29, 2015, DOD renewed the DFARS deviation implemented in February, which prohibits contracting with entities that require employees or subcontractors to sign internal confidentiality agreements or statements that prohibit, or otherwise restrict, such employee or subcontractor from lawfully reporting waste, fraud, or abuse.  Defense contractors should review their policies to ensure they meet … Continue Reading
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