More Acquisitions May Be Blocked in the Future

Last month, asserting national security concerns, President Trump blocked a $1.3 billion acquisition of Oregon-based Lattice Semiconductor by a subsidiary of the Canyon Bridge Fund (Canyon Bridge), a private equity fund backed by Chinese investors.  This is one of the few instances to date in which a sale to a non-U.S. buyer of a U.S. company has been blocked under rules administered by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  Yet the facts of this matter suggest that more potential acquisitions are likely to be blocked in the future.

Continue Reading CFIUS, POTUS Block Chinese Acquisition of U.S. Semi-conductor Maker

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published four protest decisions that were all denied due to timeliness issues. This string of cases serves as a reminder that no matter how strong a protest’s basis may be, if it is not timely filed with GAO; then the protest will most likely be dismissed. GAO’s regulations set strict deadlines for filing protests at GAO. These rules reflect GAO’s dual requirements of

(1) giving parties a fair opportunity to present their cases

(2) resolving protests expeditiously without unduly disrupting or delaying the procurement process. GAO strictly enforces these requirements and will quickly dismiss a noncompliant protest, so contractors must be aware of these protest timeliness requirements.

Continue Reading Learning from Bid Protests: Don’t Lose Your Protest Before You Begin

In an article posted by Bloomberg BNA, I discussed the success of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) expanded mentor protege program one year post launch. Until October 2016, the mentor-protégé program was only available to just one category of disadvantaged businesses. But last year, the SBA expanded the program so all small businesses could participate and partner with larger government contractors in bidding for work.

“The first year has been a real success story for the SBA,” I stated in the article. “It’s been a long-awaited program.” I commended the SBA saying “The program’s leaders should be commended for keeping application wait times short; for getting the application and approval system entirely online; for working with companies on their applications to help improve their chances; and for raising awareness about the program.”

The full article, “Mentor Program Spawns 300 Partnerships in First Year, SBA Says,” was posted by Bloomberg BNA on October 10, 2017, and is available online (subscription required).

We provided insight on opportunities in government contracting for women-owned small business (WOSB) owners in a September 22, 2017, article in the Nashville Business Journal.

Tennessee is among the 10 fastest-growing states for women-owned companies and currently has approximately 64,000 women-owned businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) women-owned small business program aims to provide eligible businesses a better shot at securing government contracting opportunities, and since it began in 2011, the program has been updated to eliminate barriers to entry, such as the removal of contract caps on set-aside awards and the authority to award sole-source contracts. These improvements helped lead the government to meet and exceed its 5% contracting goal to women-owned small businesses for the first time in fiscal year 2015.

Continue Reading Calling All Women-Owned Small Businesses: Self-Certify with Caution

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied a motion to limit damages against a government contractor, United States ex rel. Savage v. Washington Closure Hanford LLC, where the government sought several categories of damages for alleged False Claims Act (FCA) violations.  With a case centered on a nuclear waste company falsely certifying compliance with small business plan participation requirements, the Court ruled that damages would not be limited to remedies provided in the contract.

Continue Reading Court Rejects Cap on FCA Damages for Allegations of Subcontracting Plan Fraud

The level of devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, respectively, is estimated to have caused $150-200 billion in damages. With this devastation comes a multibillion-dollar recovery effort that will bring federal money and procurement into the affected areas. With past natural disasters as a guide, much of the work needed for short and long-term cleanup and rebuilding will be contracted to government contractors. The Robert T.  Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 (Stafford Act) will help facilitate these contracts but come with unique preference requirements aimed to favor the affected communities.

Continue Reading Hurricane Recovery Contractors Beware

4th Annual Compliance & Government Investigations Update: Practical Strategies for Responding to Government Investigations and Improving Your Compliance

Join us on Thursday, September 14, as we co-sponsor the 4th Annual Compliance & Government Investigations Update: Practical Strategies for Responding to Government Investigations and Improving Your Compliance with BDO.

This full day seminar will provide practical takeaway tips for preparing for, responding to and resolving a government investigation. Panel discussions filled with experienced counsel and government officials will deliver insight into a comprehensive list of government enforcement and compliance topics.

The afternoon sessions will feature a government contracts focused panel moderated by Todd Overman called Service Contract Act Compliance and Enforcement Trends. Sharing their insight on this informative panel will be Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Richard Arnholt and Aaron Raddock, Director, Government Contracts Advisory Services for BDO. Continue Reading Event: 4th Annual Compliance & Government Investigations Update

On Thursday, August 17, 2017, I will be in Tampa, Florida taking part in the Prime Focus Executive Event.  I will present a session on the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, highlighting the opportunities of this expanded program for both large and small businesses. During my session, I will explain how SBA-approved mentor/protégé relationships allow small businesses to benefit from significant support from large business mentors without being deemed to be affiliated. I will also offer best practices for large business mentors to enter into joint ventures with protégés and compete for work set aside for small businesses.

This program is hosted by CWU Inc. and Solvability, Inc.

As recent malware, ransomware and distributed denial of service attacks have made clear, the cyber threats posed to governments and commercial entities are real and growing. Critical infrastructure such as power plants, airports and communication systems are vulnerable to attacks on the cyber battlefield, as are banks, manufacturers, and law firms, among other commercial entities. In an attempt to address these risks, the U.S. government is imposing heightened cyber-security requirements on contractors, some of which are summarized below. But, in light of the growing cyber threats posed by nation states, subnational groups and bored teenagers, even companies that are not subject to these new requirements should evaluate the sufficiency of their current cyber security protocols and consider taking steps such as the simplified four-step “starter plan” – train, maintain, test and repeat – laid out below to address vulnerabilities.

Continue Reading DoD’s Efforts to Secure Information on Contractor Systems Continues, But All Companies Are at Risk and Should Take Steps Now to Protect Themselves

Over the past month, we have closely monitored efforts by the U.S. Congress to tie the president’s hands over sanctions on Russia.  Today, the president signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA or the Act), which will have a significant impact on numerous U.S. industries operating in Russia.  And Russia’s response to the legislation indicates that further tensions between the United States and Russia – and possibly additional sanctions on both sides – are likely to follow.

Continue Reading New Law Extends U.S. Sanctions Against Russia