On July 31, 2018, the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee delivered its annual report to Congress on the status of the suspension and debarment system.  The report shows a continued high level of activity relative to the last decade and serves as a reminder that exclusion from the federal marketplace continues to be a risk for contractors that do not “cut square corners” with the government.

Decline in Suspensions May Indicate an Increase of Proactive Communication Between Contractors and Officials

The FY2017 report shows a modest decrease in the number of suspensions, proposed debarments, and debarments from the last fiscal year, a trend that has continued since the high-water mark set in FY2014.  But it also notes that the number of exclusions in FY2017, over 3,000, are almost double those reported when the Committee first began formally tracking the data in FY2009, approximately 1,800.

Continue Reading Slight Decrease in FY2017 Suspensions and Debarments, but Contractors Should Take Note of the Continued High Level of Activity

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Richard Arnholt was quoted in an article regarding a little-known provision allowing the government to continue working with companies excluded from the government marketplace. Companies who have received such waivers include IBM, Boeing and BP along with 19 others to fulfill specific contracts that the government has deemed necessary. Officials distributing these waivers are required to notify the General Services Administration (GSA) which posts the information to the public. Since the law was passed in 1981, 30 waivers have been provided to the GSA. The waivers can be used for companies that otherwise are prohibited from bidding on future contracts or seeking extensions on existing contracts.

Continue Reading Waivers Allow Government to Do Business with Suspended Companies

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Richard Arnholt provided comments on the questionable communications related to the bidding process for two separate contracts awarded by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. In both cases, email exchanges between individuals in the St. Louis county executive and economic partnership offices and a top donor to the county executive’s campaign revealed that the donor requested feedback on his proposal prior to formally submitting the bid. The Economic Development Partnership subsequently awarded the two government contracts to the donor’s company.

Continue Reading Information on Inquiries Arising from Economic Development Partnership Bidding Process

In early April, the GAO issued a final rule revising the existing bid protest process—the major revisions being the introduction of an Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS) and a protest filing fee. When the rule takes effect on May 1, 2018, the new EPDS will launch as the GAO’s electronic filing and document dissemination system for bid protests.

Continue Reading New GAO Bid Protest Procedures Take Effect on May 1

Teaming 101: Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive AdvantageRichard Arnholt will speak at the 17th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo. Richard will speak on the topic of, “Teaming 101: Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive Advantage.”

Topics include:

  • Practical guidance about teaming agreements and joint venture agreements
  • Key terms that both types of arrangements should contain
  • Pros and con of each arrangement type
  • Overview of associated risks

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Event: Teaming 101 – Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive Advantage

In an article published by National Defense Magazine, Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Richard Arnholt and Sylvia Yi provided insight on the significant changes affecting defense contractors from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2018, specifically concerning bid protests.

There are two significant big protest changes in the new NDAA:

  1. the introduction of a new three-year pilot program in which large defense contractors will be required to pay the Department of Defense’s costs where a protest is denied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO); and
  2. the enhancement of post-award debriefing rights.

Continue Reading Richard Arnholt and Sylvia Yi Examine 2018 Changes in Challenges to Bid Protests from NDAA

Two Washington, D.C. area government contractors have agreed to pay the government for their respective roles in defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in schemes to fraudulently obtain government contracts set aside for small businesses.  These two cases highlight the importance of small business compliance and the submission of accurate and complete certifications. Continue Reading Small Business Fraud Leads to Large Monetary Liability in Recent Cases

Teaming Arrangements under the FAR

Under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 9.6, a contractor teaming arrangement is when:

  1. Two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as a potential prime contractor; or
  2. A potential prime contractor agrees with one or more other companies to have them act as its subcontractors under a specified government contract or acquisition program.

Both of these arrangements have the potential to help small businesses increase the number of solicitations they can confidently bid on, but both also come with their own set of limitations to consider.

Continue Reading What Small Businesses Must Consider When Using Teaming Arrangements or Joint Ventures

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

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