Last month, we began our three-part series on organizational conflicts of interests (“OCIs”) with an article discussing the different types of OCIs and how they can be mitigated. Now, in Part 2 of our series, we analyze how OCIs arise in bid protests. First, we explain how the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) and the Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) review OCI protests. Then, we examine scenarios where OCI protests have been sustained, followed by a synopsis of OCI protest grounds that (almost) always will be denied. Finally, we conclude with a summary of key points to consider when faced with an OCI issue that arises during a bid protest.

Continue Reading Organizational Conflicts of Interests – Part 2: OCIs in Bid Protests

You might be wondering, “What’s so important about Organizational Conflicts of Interest (“OCIs”)?” The answer is fairly simple: understanding both what causes OCIs and how to mitigate them are critical because unmitigated OCIs can preclude a contractor from (1) competing for future contract work, (2) performing certain tasks under existing contracts, (3) transferring personnel between company organizations, (4) hiring personnel, (5) teaming with certain vendors, and/or (6) entering into certain corporate transactions. Moreover, undisclosed or unmitigated OCIs can create risk of liability under the False Claims Act. In this Part 1 of a three part series, we offer a summary of what creates OCIs and general mitigation strategies. In Part 2, we will detail how OCIs arise in protests, and in Part 3, we will address the risks of False Claims Act liability arising from undisclosed OCIs.

Continue Reading Organizational Conflicts of Interest – Part 1: A Refresher on OCIs

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council published the final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) in accordance with President Trump’s Executive Order 13881, “Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials.” As we discussed in our prior blog articles here (discussing the September 2020 proposed rule) and here (discussing the July 15, 2019 order), the Executive Order required significant changes to the regulations implementing the Buy American Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 8301-8305 (“BAA”). The final rule varies very little from the September 14, 2020 proposed rule (discussed in greater detail here). Accordingly, the final rule amends applicable FAR clauses with three key impacts:
Continue Reading “Buy (More) American” – Final Rule Implements Changes to the Buy American Act Regulations

On July 14, 2020 the Department of Defense (“DoD”), General Services Administration (“GSA”), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) published an Interim Rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) in order to implement Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”).[1] The Interim Rule is effective August 13, 2020, and applies to all solicitations issued after (or resulting in contracts that will be awarded after) the effective date. Interested parties have until September 14, 2020 to submit written comments for consideration in the formation of the Final Rule.
Continue Reading Interim Rule Confirms Section 889 Part B Restriction on Contractor Use of Chinese Telecom Will Go Into Effect August 2020

On February 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Acetris Health LLC v. United States, No. 2018-2399 (Feb. 10, 2020).
Continue Reading What Does it Mean to Manufacture? Federal Circuit’s Acetris Decision Fundamentally Alters Trade Agreements Act Compliance

On January 7, 2020, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) published a proposed rule seeking to amend the NASA Federal Regulation Supplement regarding counterfeit electronic parts. The proposed rule
Continue Reading Let the Seller Beware – NASA’s Proposed Rule Seeks to Limit the Presence of Counterfeit Electronic Parts

We recently wrote about the FAR Council’s release of an interim rule implementing restrictions on procurements involving certain Chinese telecommunications hardware manufacturers and service providers, such as Huawei and ZTE. The interim rule creates a new FAR Subpart 4.21, as well as two new contract clauses, FAR 52.204-24 and 52.204-25, which were effective August 13, 2019. These restrictions apply not only to prime contractors, but also to all subcontractors and throughout the supply chain. Concurrent with the release of the FAR interim rule, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) issued a memorandum, laying out DoD procedures to implement the prohibitions contained therein. These procedures apply to contracts, task orders, and delivery orders, including basic ordering agreements (BOAs), orders against BOAs, blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), and calls against BPAs.
Continue Reading Effective Last Month! – DoD’s Implementation of New FAR Prohibitions on Chinese Telecommunications Equipment and Services in Government Contracts

On August 25, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) and Federal Acquisition Regulatory (“FAR”) Councils published “Guidance for Executive Order 13673, ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces’” (“final rule”).  See 81 Fed. Reg. 58562. Also referred to as the “blacklisting” rule, it imposes strict disclosure guidelines and requires that both prospective and existing contractors – as well as subcontractors – disclose violations of federal labor laws that resulted in administrative merits determinations, civil judgments, or arbitral awards or decisions.  The final rule also requires that contractors and subcontractors disclose specific information to workers each pay period regarding their wages and also prohibits contractors from requiring that their workers sign arbitration agreements that encompass Title VII violations and claims of sexual assault or harassment.
Continue Reading Agencies Publish Strict New Labor Reporting Guidelines for Government Contractors

Every now and then, the FAR Councils issue a Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) – an update to the Federal Acquisition Regulation implementing a number of changes. Often these changes are rather pro forma. But occasionally, you get a Circular with many different (and interesting) issues. FAC 2005-67, issued in late-June 2013, with rules becoming effective in June and July 2013, is one such circular. We thought it would be helpful to highlight five of these rules that raise interesting and timely issues, especially where they may signal additional changes yet to come.
Continue Reading Lots of Little Things – FAR Updates from the Federal Acquisition Circular

By David Gallacher

Two months ago, we published a brief list of compliance tips to keep in mind when dealing with Buy American requirements. We got an awful lot of

Continue Reading Buy American Redux – 15 Tips for Navigating the Buy American Maze

By Dawn Lurie 

“Yes, we use E-Verify.” “Of course, our company is in compliance, we did an I-9 audit a few years ago – isn’t that the same as E-Verify?” “I know this is not an issue, because I remember being told we addressed all I-9 and E-Verify issues.” “No, the General Counsel’s office doesn’t handle immigration issues.”

You get the picture. Many companies simply do not take immigration compliance seriously. This failing usually does not come from a disinterest in compliance, but rather from a threshold failure to understand the intricacies involved in immigration issues or the potential exposure that could result from noncompliance. Only when faced with government investigations, public scrutiny, or other negative impacts on the business do the right people in the right places start to pay attention. When they learn that federal contractors can be suspended or debarred for failing to adhere to immigration and E-Verify related issues that attention is heightened.

Continue Reading Federal Contractors: The FAR E-Verify Clause Revisited – Critical Steps a Contractor Can Take To Foster E-Verify Compliance