Ever wonder what it takes to win a protest? 

With GAO’s statistics for Fiscal Year 2023 (“FY 23”) just released, we thought now is the perfect time to share some insights we gained by reading every published decision in which GAO sustained a protest during FY 23. GAO saw a rise in cases in Fiscal Year 2023 – up 22% from last year, or 2,025 cases, and it conducted hearings in 22 cases, compared to only two last year. GAO’s statistics from Fiscal Year 2022 showed a relatively steady sustain rate percentage hovering between 13% and 15% of the decisions on the merits. This year GAO reports a sustain rate of 31%, listing the number of sustained cases at 188, versus 59 last year. GAO explains the higher number of sustains is, at least in large part, due to “an unusually high number of protests challenging a single procurement,” namely the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (“CIO-SP4”) acquisition, in which GAO sustained 119 protests on primarily one ground. Taking this one procurement out of the mix, there are 69 remaining sustains, which would equate to a sustain rate of about 14% – much more in line with GAO’s historic rate over the prior 4 years of 13% to 15%.Continue Reading If Past is Prologue – What Made Protests Successful in Fiscal Year 2023?

In Securities & Exchange Commission v. Govil, No. 22-1658, 2023 WL 7137291 (2d Cir. Oct. 31, 2023), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dealt a setback to the enforcement agenda of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) by limiting its ability to seek disgorgement under 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5) and (7) to situations in which the regulator can demonstrate investors have suffered pecuniary harm.Continue Reading Second Circuit Reins in SEC Disgorgement Powers

On October 27, 2023, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released a draft memorandum for public comment regarding Modernizing the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (“FedRAMP”) (the “Draft Memo”). The Draft Memo comes almost one year after Congress passed the FedRAMP Authorization Act (the “Act”) as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which codified FedRAMP.Continue Reading Time for An Upgrade: OMB Releases Draft Memorandum Modernizing FedRAMP

The COVID-19 Pandemic wreaked havoc on many businesses. For others, though, it created new opportunities to sell to the federal government, including an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (“PPE”), COVID tests, and vaccines. Perhaps your company found itself as a first-time government contractor, or you started selling products to the government that you had never sold before. If your government contract went smoothly, congratulations! If not, you may be left wondering who will pay for unexpected increased costs of performance, or how you can defend against the government’s claims to recoup overpayments or liquidated damages. Continue Reading Don’t Leave Money on the Table from Your Pandemic-Era Healthcare Procurement Contract

On October 5, 2023, the FAR Council released an Interim Rule on “Implementation of Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act (FASCSA) Orders.” The Interim Rule implements requirements from Section 202 of the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act of 2018 (“FASCSA”), which will require contractors to ensure certain products and services are excluded from the U.S. Government supply chain as directed by the Federal Acquisition Security Council (“FASC”). The Interim Rule becomes effective 60 days after publication, requiring new FAR clauses to be incorporated into all solicitations and contracts (including orders and modifications) issued after December 4, 2023.Continue Reading Interim Rule Effective in December Establishes Requirements for Contractors to Remove Identified Products and Services from the U.S. Government Supply Chain

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. The March 2023 Cost Corner introduced the three principle categories of Government contracts cost and pricing requirements: (1) the Truthful Cost or Pricing Data Statute, also known as the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA), which defines a contractor’s obligation to disclose cost or pricing data to the Government; (2) the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles, which prescribe principles and procedures for determining the allowability of costs; and (3) the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), which provide standards to ensure uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs. The September 2023 Cost Corner concluded a three-part series on TINA. We now move on to the FAR Cost Principles, specifically FAR Subpart 31.2, which applies to contracts with commercial organizations. This article addresses the applicability of the FAR Cost Principles and their general criteria for determining the allowability of costs. Subsequent articles will address the allowability of selected items of cost.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Introduction to the Federal Acquisition Regulation Cost Principles (Part 1)

On October 3, 2023, the FAR Council released two long-awaited proposed rules for federal contractor cybersecurity stemming from the Biden Administration’s Cybersecurity Executive Order from May 2021 (Executive Order 14028). The proposed rules relate to Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing (FAR Case 2021-017) and Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems (FAR Case 2021-019). The comment period for both rules is currently open and is scheduled to close on December 4, 2023.Continue Reading Two New Cybersecurity Proposed Rules Mean Big Changes for Federal Contractors

The government buys billions of dollars in healthcare-related goods and services every year, and no government procurement is perfect. In a business where every contract award matters, healthcare contractors should be aware that they may have a second chance at winning a contract if the government agency made a material error in its procurement process. The question disappointed healthcare contractors should ask is whether the agency acted unreasonably in its evaluation and selection of the awardee. If the answer is “yes”—or even “maybe”—healthcare companies may file a bid protest at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) challenging the award. If successful, the agency will often need to reevaluate proposals and make a new award, giving protestors another opportunity to be selected.Continue Reading A Second Chance to Win Your Government Healthcare Contract

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government Contractors. We just completed two articles on the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA) [1] and, before that, two articles on Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audits. This issue of the Cost Corner concludes our coverage of TINA by addressing DCAA Truth in Negotiations (TIN) compliance audits (defective pricing audits) and identifying best practices for contractors to mitigate defective pricing risk.Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: The Truth in Negotiations Act, or Whatever the Kids Are Calling It These Days (Part 3)

The U.S. antiboycott laws and regulations have been around since the era of disco. In stark contrast to fast-moving sanctions and export controls, we rarely see updates to the antiboycott regulations or enforcement strategies. Last October, however, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced enhancements to its antiboycott enforcement strategy. As part of its implementation of this updated enforcement strategy, BIS has both expanded the scope of required antiboycott reports and flagged antiboycott compliance specifically for government contractors. These moves demonstrate how BIS plans to focus its enforcement efforts on Federal contractors.Continue Reading Antiboycott Update for Government Contractors and More