This Post at a Glance:

  • Company made false statements related to import duty charges
  • Investigation initiated by whistleblower complaint from company’s competitor
  • Trump Administration likely to impose more anti-dumping duties

On February 6, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. (HFRG), of Hermitage, Tennessee, agreed to a $500,000 settlement to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act (FCA). The DOJ contended that HFRG made false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying anti-dumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture that HFRG imported from China between 2009 and 2014.

Continue Reading Tennessee Company Skirts Customs Obligations, Pays $500,000 FCA Penalty

In 2016, Congress instructed the Department of Defense (DoD) to review its procurement regulations by convening a panel of procurement professionals—from both the public and private sectors. This panel became known as the Section 809 Panel (809 Panel). Congress instructed the 809 Panel to recommend amendments or repeals of defense procurement regulations. The 809 Panel’s objective was to help streamline or improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the defense acquisition process while still maintaining an advantage in defense technology. While Congress and the DoD are not required to adopt these recommendations, the report shows an attempt to define the issues in modern federal procurement and improve upon the old system. Continue Reading Section 809 Panel Releases First Volume of Recommendations for the Overhaul of DoD’s Acquisition Process

In mid-January, the General Services Administration (GSA) released their Semiannual Regulation Agenda. Within this agenda, GSA announced plans to update requirements in the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR)—concerning reporting cyber incidents that potentially affect GSA or its contractors.

The agency will be turning to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA), along with other cyber regulations, as a model on how to update its policies. These updates would be improvements to the existing cyber incident reporting policy within GSA Order CIO 9297.2—i.e. GSA Information Notification Policy. By integrating these updated policies into the GSAR, contracting officers would be required to include cyber incident reporting requirements within all of their procurement contracts. Continue Reading General Services Administration Announces Plans to Update Cybersecurity Requirements for Contractors

Our attorneys will be participating in a panel discussion on unique M&A issues in government contracts. The panel will address key M&A issues, including due diligence, differences in transactions with public and private companies, and solutions to common government contracts issues.

Sylvia Yi will moderate and Todd Overman will be a panelist for this event that will be held at Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C.

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Event: Due Diligence and Unique M&A Issues in Government Contracts

Veteran-owned small businesses have long faced inconsistencies between the regulations of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and those of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, these inconsistencies can lead to companies qualifying as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) under VA standards yet but not SBA standards—or vice versa. This issue came to a head recently at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC) in Veterans Contracting Group, Inc. v. United States.

In a decision issued on December 15 and made public on December 21, the COFC restored a company’s ability to pursue contracts set aside for small businesses owned by disabled veterans by the VA. The decision came a day after the COFC reluctantly backed the SBA’s determination that the same company did not qualify for set-aside contracts under its rules. These conflicting decisions show the struggle the COFC and contractors face when dealing with inconsistent small business rules from two agencies.  

Continue Reading COFC Decision Foreshadows VA Proposed Rule on Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Eligibility Rules

  • MoneyGram and Ant Financial mutually terminate $1.2 billion proposed merger
  • CFIUS’s concerns focused on cyber and information security
  • Scrutiny of buyers’ information security processes is likely to increase

By Thad McBride and Todd Overman with help from law clerk Nicole Giles

On January 2, 2018, U.S.-based MoneyGram International announced that its proposed acquisition by Ant Financial, a Chinese company owned by Alibaba, was being blocked by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  CFIUS is the U.S. government’s inter-agency committee tasked with reviewing foreign entities’ purchases of and investments in U.S. companies when the transaction could pose a threat to U.S. national security.

Continue Reading CFIUS Continues Focus on Information Security, Blocks Chinese Acquisition of MoneyGram

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently issued a 2017 statistical report—covering the government’s fiscal year October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. During this time, 652 suits filed were filed at the Court and 1,035 suits disposed of within the 12 month period. Of the suits filed, over 42% were contract dispute or protest related, almost 15% taking cases, and 8% tax related. With the overall disposal rate of cases increasing by 82% over the previous year, the Court had its most productive year out the past 12 years. Plaintiffs seeking relief at the Court received around $1.3 billion in judgments and settlements—a nearly $500 million increase from 2016 and the largest amount since 2007. The government, on the other hand, was awarded only $4.3 million in counterclaims, sanctions or offsets.

Continue Reading U.S. Court of Federal Claims Reports on Busy and Productive FY17

  • Many medical products can be exported to Iran – so long as a license is obtained
  • Imposition of successor liability underscores importance of pre-transaction due diligence
  • OFAC enforcement, as in the past, continues to take a long time

In December 2017, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a penalty of $1.2 million against DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc. (DSI), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dental products, for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.  DSI, which is publicly traded in the United States, is based in York, Pennsylvania, and maintains operations around the world.

Continue Reading U.S. Dental Supply Company Penalized for Violating Iran Sanctions

I am presenting a Clear Law Institute (CLI) webinar titled, “Hot Topics in U.S. Sanctions.” The United States continues to use economic sanctions and embargoes to limit trade with countries, entities, and individuals that are deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security. Yet the sanctions maintained by the U.S. government can change quickly.

In this webinar, you will learn more about the current landscape, including possible business opportunities that are available in countries subject to U.S. sanctions. In particular, you will learn about:

  • The Primary U.S. sanctions laws and regulations
  • Penalties and recent sanctions enforcement action
  • Key compliance challenges, such as Specially Designated Nationals, facilitation and the export of services, and the fluidity of current sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela
  • Compliance best practices to prevent and detect violations

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, December 12 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EST. This webinar has been approved for 1.25 hours of general Tennessee CLE credit. For more information and registration, visit the CLI website.

*Receive a 35% discount by using the promo code: thmc35

The Government recently indicted an Army veteran for allegedly using his status as a service-disabled veteran to help a company qualify as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business and falsely obtain nearly $40 million in healthcare facility construction task orders from the Department of Defense.

The indictment is an indication that the government is continuing to aggressively pursue small businesses that fail to comply with set-aside requirements, and is a reminder that businesses benefiting from small business programs must be fully compliant with the complex regulations governing those socio-economic programs. It is also a reminder that the consequences of failing to meet those requirements are real – the Army veteran, Joseph Dial Jr., is facing over a century in prison.

Continue Reading If You Don’t Do the Work, You Might Do Time Instead: Service-Disabled Veteran Faces Jail Time for Failing to Run Day-to-Day Operations