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.
The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced on May 4, 2023 a planned end to the COVID-19 remote I-9 flexibility. The flexibility ends on July 31 and prior pandemic I-9s must be remediated by Aug 30, 2023. Therefore, employers should act quickly to review and remediate I-9s that were verified remotely in the past three years.…
Updated as of May 24, 2022
The United States is engaging in a new form of warfare. Russia invaded Ukraine just over two months ago and, rather than join the fight directly by sending troops to defend Ukraine, the United States is fighting indirectly by engaging in unprecedented financial warfare against the Russian Federation. The initial export and sanctions actions were swift and severe – but somewhat expected. As the invasion persists, the U.S. Federal Government and individual States also have begun to leverage procurement policy to amplify the financial harm to Russia. This Guide will try to help make sense of the current efforts targeting Russia, the potential impact to government contractors, and proactive steps to mitigate risk.…
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. 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.
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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”) – by far the largest economic relief package in U.S. history. The CARES Act’s purpose is to keep the U.S. economy afloat and provide relief to struggling Americans, large corporate sectors, and small businesses while the nation battles this pandemic. With $500 billion allocated for big corporations, $377 billion for small businesses, and another $153.5 billion for healthcare, these relief moneys (like with most government funds) are sure to come with strings attached in the form of complex regulations and substantial oversight, with enforcement not far behind.
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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 noted that the spread of the virus “threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems.” As medical needs surge coupled with increases in state and city shutdowns to combat and contain the virus, a drain on government resources is almost certain. As such, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, many companies are looking for ways to help, and some are willing to do so at no cost through free goods and services to the United States Government in hopes of alleviating such strain. Many companies, however, fear that such gifts might be prohibited under federal gift rules and the Antideficiency Act (an Act originating in the 1880s that, in some cases, prevents the Government from accepting voluntary services). This article explores how companies can provide free goods and services to the Government within the strictures of applicable statutes and regulations.
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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 parties. When DOJ issues a guidance document with voluntary standards, it must also contain a statement that noncompliance is not subject to future DOJ enforcement actions. The Brand Memo makes clear that this principle also applies to other agencies’ guidance documents. In other words, agency guidance, in and of itself, cannot create new binding legal requirements.
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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”), is headed by Kevin Goodman, head of the SEC’s broker-dealer exam program. On Oct. 17, 2016, Wyatt spoke at the National Society of Compliance Professionals 2016 National Conference in Washington, D.C., where he made the announcement. According to Wyatt, the new FISIO team includes “roughly 40 people” throughout the country, and consolidates the SEC’s oversight of FINRA “into a single group.” The FISIO team will oversee FINRA to ensure “that it’s fulfilling its mandate in terms of evaluating its member broker-dealers.” On a separate panel at the event, Goodman noted that before FISIO, the SEC examined FINRA through “programmatic” exams focused on a particular FINRA operation (e.g., exams, enforcement, dispute resolution programs) and “oversight” exams that assessed “the quality of the individual examinations” that FINRA conducts on broker-dealers. According to Goodman, FISIO will “combin[e] those two functions into one,” which he described as “not only powerful but efficient as well.”…
Continue Reading Watching the Detectives: The SEC Launches a Dedicated FINRA Oversight Unit
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 sensitive data for approximately 730,000 customer accounts.
Continue Reading SEC Steps Up Cybersecurity Enforcement with $1 Million Fine Against Morgan Stanley