By Christopher Loveland and Jonathan Aronie 

While multi-million dollar False Claims Act (FCA) settlements paid by Government contractors get the lion’s share of the press, those with an attentive eye will have noticed a recent steady stream of more “contractor friendly” FCA decisions flying just under the national press’s radar. These cases, all arising in the context of the GSA Multiple Award Schedule program, serve as timely reminders that the FCA is not a blank check for opportunistic relators (plaintiffs/whistleblowers), and that relators must be in possession of facts actually supporting their allegations before walking into court. [1]Continue Reading Common Sense Prevails Once Again: District Court FCA Ruling Serves As Reminder That Whistleblowers Need to Prove Recklessness Too

By John Chierichella and Jonathan Aronie

Note: The following post is adapted from the forthcoming 2012/2013 GSA Schedule Handbook, published by ThompsonWest, due out later this year.

The past 12 months were interesting ones for the Multiple Award Schedule Program. To the dismay of many, and the embarrassment of some, the General Services Administration seems to find it hard to stay out of the press these days.Continue Reading What Happens In Vegas Doesn’t Seem To Stay In Vegas: A Different Take on GSA’s Recent Woes

A year ago, we advised our readers of the interim rule intended to emphasize competition under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPAs”) here. To recap, the March 2011 interim rule imposed a requirement for varying degrees of competition for orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The final rule becomes effective April 2, 2012.
Continue Reading MAS March Madness 2012: Final Rule for Increased Competition in MAS/BPA Orders

By Jonathan S. Aronie

So there I was, just sitting there minding my own business. It was the third day of the GSA OIG’s site visit being conducted as part of a routine pre-award audit (or as the OIG called it, a pre-award “attestation review”), and all was going well. The auditor, who was quite a nice guy frankly, had had many questions, as was to be expected, but nothing for which this particular mid-sized GSA Schedule contractor did not have a reasonable response. No Price Reductions Clause violations. No overbillings. No resume qualification issues. Overall, a pretty darn good preliminary report if you ask me. But then, out of the blue, he says, “okay, I’d like to interview your personnel now.” Interview my personnel?! Come again!?
 Continue Reading From Attestation Reviews To Examinations: The GSA OIG Expands The Scope Of Its Pre-Award Audits

On March 16, 2011, the FAR Councils, heeding Congress’ mandate in Section 863 of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, published an interim rule intending to ramp up competition for orders placed under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPA”). The new rules, which apply to all federal agencies as of May 16, 2011, instill varying degrees of competition to orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The attached matrix, prepared by Jonathan Aronie, co-author with John Chierichella of the GSA Schedule Handbook (West 2010), provides a useful summary of the new rules.
Continue Reading MAS March Madness: Increased Competition In Multiple Award Schedule Orders

By Jonathan S. Aronie and Christopher M. Loveland

Search for the phrase False Claims Act on the Internet, and you will be hit with a barrage of websites telling you how easy it is to bring a fraud case against a Government contractor. Sadly, these websites are right. The bar to bringing FCA claims has been lowered to such an extent over the past 5-10 years that the Act practically invites frivolous lawsuits. Thus, it is with great pleasure that we report that at least one court – the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts – has taken a step toward restoring at least some common sense to application of the statute.
 Continue Reading Finally, A Ruling That Applies Some Common Sense To The False Claims Act

By Jonathan S. Aronie  & Christopher Noon

Over the years, contracting officers have exhibited a promiscuous tendency to include non-Schedule items in GSA Schedule purchases. The many GSA Schedule procurements seeking $10,000 in Schedule items and $50,000 in non-Schedule “incidental” items did not go unnoticed by the OIG. The primary concern being that those $50,000 items should be properly competed – something that many agencies sought to avoid through their use of the Schedules program.
 Continue Reading When Does A Free Item NOT Fall Below The Micro-Purchase Threshold?