Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released results from its investigation into the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DoD) Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program. In accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2016, GAO reviewed DoD’s procedures for approving mentor-protégé agreements, its performance measures for the program, and the differences between its program and the new All Small Mentor Protégé Program established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Continue Reading GAO Review Calls for Greater Oversight of DoD’s “Pilot” Mentor-Protégé Program

Since the start of September, the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has settled with two different companies for alleged violations of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. The settlements, the first with World Class Technology Corporation (WCT) and the second with PanAmerican Seed Company (PanAmerican), yielded vastly different outcomes.  As summarized below, we think the divergent results serve to illustrate how OFAC weighs various factors in calculating penalty amounts.

WCT.  On September 7, 2016, OFAC settled with WCT for $43,200 based on alleged violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).  The alleged violations occurred when WCT exported seven shipments of orthodontic devices to Germany, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates with suspicion that the devices would be exported to Iran.  The devices were collectively valued at almost $60,000.  The exports occurred between April 2008 and July 2010.

Continue Reading Iran Sanctions: Recent Enforcement Sheds Light on OFAC Penalty Calculations

SB95 by Norris/HB84 by McCormick – Dept. of General Services
This bill was part of the administration’s package and revises certain provisions of Tennessee’s procurement code as follows:

Section 1: Rewrites the cooperative purchasing agreements statute (Tenn. Code Ann. § 12-3-701) to authorize the central procurement office and public institutions of higher education to participate in cooperative purchasing agreements for the procurement of goods or services with the cooperation of other states or local governments. The bill specifies that cooperative purchasing must be awarded through “full and open competition.”

Section 2: Rewrites the protest procedure statute (Tenn. Code Ann. § 12-3-514) to provide more detail with regard to a party’s standing to protest and to the calculation of the protest bond. The bill revises the procedure as follows:

A. Time
Previously: A protest must have been submitted in writing within seven calendar days after the claimant knew or should have known the facts giving rise to the protest. A stay of award may have been requested in the case of a pending award.

Now: A protesting party may submit a protest within seven calendar days after (a) the earlier of the notice of the award or (b) intent to award the contract is issued. Regarding a stay, the bill revises the requirement to specify that a stay of the solicitation, award, or proposed award will be granted upon receipt of a protest and the accompanying protest bond. A stay issued under this provision must not be lifted unless, after giving the protesting an opportunity to be heard, the chief procurement officer or the protest committee makes a written determination that continuation of the procurement process or the award of the contract without further delay is necessary to protect the interests of the state.

Continue Reading 2015 Legislative Update: Government Contracts and Procurement

I am excited to welcome our newest member, Richard Arnholt, to the GovCon team. Richard and I have been friends since our days clerking at the Court of Federal Claims and I’m excited about the opportunity of working together again!  He has focused his career on helping companies navigate the complex rules and range of issues that face government contractors dealing with federal and state governments. We look forward to Richard sharing his experience and insight on future blog posts.  Welcome, Richard!

As we bring 2014 to a close, we appreciate your support and interest in our Government Contracts practice.  2014 has been a year of many “firsts” for group and we look forward to new challenges and opportunities in 2015. We wish you and your business a Happy New Year and best wishes for a prosperous 2015.  We’d love to hear any feedback you have about topics or issues you would like to see discussed next year on our GovConBlog.