In a previous article, we analyzed what made protests successful at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) in Fiscal Year 2023 (“FY23”). Now, we want to share some insights we gained while conducting the same analysis of bid protest decisions at the Court of Federal Claims (“COFC” or the “Court”).Continue Reading What Makes a Successful Protest at the Court of Federal Claims

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. The current topic is Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The previous four Cost Corner articles addressed the Cost Principles pertaining to the general criteria for determining the allowability of costs, direct and indirect costs, accounting for unallowable costs, and penalties for unallowable costs. This article begins coverage of FAR 31.205, Selected Costs, which includes forty-seven Cost Principles, each of which governs the allowability of a particular type of cost. The Cost Corner will not address all of the Cost Principles in FAR 31.205 but instead will focus on those that have, in our experience, generated the most significant questioned and disallowed costs.Continue Reading The Cost Corner: Government Contracts Cost and Pricing – Compensation for Personal Services (Part I)

On January 26, 2024, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (“FedRAMP”) published a draft Emerging Technology Prioritization Framework developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order 14110 on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (previously analyzed by our colleague here and discussed in a flash briefing available here). The Executive Order charged FedRAMP with developing a framework to prioritize Emerging Technologies in the FedRAMP authorization process, starting with generative AI.Continue Reading Emerging AI Landscape: FedRAMP Publishes Draft Emerging Technology Prioritization Framework in Response to Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence

In January 2024, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) published 31 bid protest decisions, two of which resulted in decisions sustaining the protesters’ challenges. There were also two requests for costs, one of which was denied, and one request for consideration, which was, unsurprisingly, denied. Below is a summary of the notable decisions from January and what potential protesters can learn from them. Continue Reading Bid Protest Hub – January 2024

In a landmark unanimous ruling late last week, Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, et al. 601 U. S. ____ (2024), the U.S. Supreme Court held that whistleblowers do not need to prove their employer acted with “retaliatory intent” to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Instead, all whistleblower plaintiffs need to prove is that their protected activity was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Endorses Low Burden of Proof for Whistleblowers

To kick off the New Year, Sheppard Mullin’s Governmental Practice Cybersecurity & Data Protection Team has prepared a cybersecurity-focused 2023 Recap (including links to all of the resources the team has put out over the past year) and 2024 Forecast (that previews what we expect to see in 2024). This Recap & Forecast covers the following five high-interest topic areas related to cybersecurity and data protection:Continue Reading Governmental Practice Cybersecurity and Data Protection, 2023 Recap & 2024 Forecast Alert

The United States Department of the Treasury has announced that it is working to address what it perceives as money laundering risks associated with investment advisers. Specifically, the agency asserts that absent consistent and comprehensive anti-money laundering (“AML”) and countering the financing of terrorism (“CFT”) obligations, corrupt officials and other illicit actors may invest ill-gotten gains in the U.S. financial system through hedge funds and private equity firms. Treasury indicated its intention to issue a proposal in the first quarter of 2024 that would apply Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) AML/CFT requirements, including suspicious activity report obligations, to certain investment advisers. Continue Reading Treasury Announces Renewed Push for Investment Adviser AML Rules

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. This is the third article in a multi-part series on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The first article in the series addressed the criteria for determining the allowability of costs. The second addressed the allocation of direct and indirect costs. This Cost Corner focuses accounting for unallowable costs. The applicable Cost Principle is FAR 31.201-6, Accounting for Unallowable Costs. Among other requirements, FAR 31.201-6 incorporates by reference the practices for accounting for, and presentation of, unallowable costs provided in Cost Accounting Standard (“CAS”) 405, also titled “Accounting for Unallowable Costs.” We will address both the FAR and the CAS requirements.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Accounting for Unallowable Costs

Since our last Bid Protest Hub article in November, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has published 37 bid protest decisions, two of which have resulted in decisions sustaining the protester’s challenge. As we enter into the new year, it remains critical for government contractors to understand what issues win at the GAO and why. Below, we cover a few important GAO decisions you should know from December 2023.Continue Reading Bid Protest Hub – December 2023

On December 12, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued guidance related to the process by which companies may request the United States Attorney General authorize delays of cyber incident disclosures, pursuant to a new Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rule. As a reminder, the SEC rule (which went into effect on Dec. 18, 2023) requires companies to disclose material cyber incidents via Form 8-K within four days of making a materiality determination. Our colleagues previously discussed the SEC rule and its new cyber reporting requirements here.Continue Reading For Limited Use Only: Guidance on National Security Delay Determinations under the SEC Cyber Reporting Rule