In the 10th edition of the “OIG Shorts” series, Sheppard Mullin’s Organizational Integrity Group continued its exploration of a number of complex compliance matters with a discussion on Setting the Table for Good Decision-Making: And Making Sure the Chief Legal Officer Has a Seat at It. This post discusses why it’s important that Chief Legal Officers and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officers have meaningful, real-time involvement in the key legal, organizational, reputational, and business discussions/decisions of their companies, as well as direct access to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board.
The inattention some companies pay to their ethics and compliance program never ceases to surprise us. You’d think the frequency of DOJ press releases and prosecutions holding companies accountable for employee wrongdoing would be enough to scare any business into directing more resources at prevention. But alas, many businesses, often over the protestations of their under-resourced Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs), continue to think they can get by with a minimalist approach to ethics and compliance. Our experience suggests otherwise.
Continue Reading DOJ’s Renewed Focus On Corporate Ethics & Compliance Programs Highlights Importance Of Organizational Integrity
It has been noted, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the world of Government Contracts Law, however, the more things change, the more the phone rings. And while we’re only a few weeks into 2013, the phone has been ringing off the hook. Here are a few of the reasons why.…
As we discussed here last November, the United States Navy, the other military services, and the Department of Defense, have all recognized that their personnel are using social media and have responded by establishing detailed social media policies. Similarly, there is not a shred of doubt that your company’s employees are using social media. And, just like the military services and DoD, if you’re a government contractor then you must establish a social medial policy—and it cannot be a “cookie cutter” version of standard corporate social media policies. Among other things, it must address the risk of classified information being leaked, and the ways in which your employees’ security clearances can be put in jeopardy if they are not using social media prudently.
Continue Reading 10 Social Media Must Haves for Your Company’s FAR-Mandated Compliance Program
Following the publication of the FAR’s Mandatory Disclosure Rule in late 2008, the Public Contracts Section of the American Bar Association organized a Task Force of leading Government contracts attorneys, DOJ fraud lawyers, federal investigators, and other experts to consider the implications of the new requirements and to draft written guidance to fill the many gaps inherent in the Rule. Sheppard Mullin’s Jonathan Aronie served on the ABA Task Force.
Recently, contractors have begun receiving formal requests for information from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (“DCAA”). The purported purpose of these requests is to “[o]btain an understanding of the management control environment” of major government contractors. In pursuit of this goal, DCAA has crafted a letter that demands, among other things, the following:
- A list of all ethics training, copies of agendas, and attendee lists
- Copies of the company’s written Codes of Conduct, copies of the policies dealing with communications of the Code, and a list of employees who have acknowledged receiving the Code over the past 12 months
- A list of all violations of the Code over the past 12 months
- All “noncompliances” reported through the contractor’s internal control system (such as a hotline) within the past 12 months
- A “company-wide list of any current open investigations”
On May 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 ("FERA"). FERA implements a number of sweeping changes to the False Claims Act ("FCA"), including a provision that expands significantly the circumstances under which a contractor may be held liable under the so called "reverse false claims" theory.