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

I provided insight for an article published by The New York Times on the $2 million fine that the U.S. Treasury Department charged Exxon Mobil for violating Russian sanctions.  Exxon apparently entered into eight contracts with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, signed by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who is a prohibited party under U.S. sanctions on Russia.  Exxon was apparently under the impression that the Rosneft CEO could sign the contracts so long as the company was not doing business with him individually. The Treasury Department’s announcement of the penalty refers to the involvement in the matter of Exxon’s “senior-most” executives, which would seem to include Rex Tillerson, who was Exxon’s CEO at the time and is now the U.S. Secretary of State. Exxon has subsequently sued the Treasury Department related to this matter.

The full article, “Stakes for Exxon in Sanctions Case Go Far Beyond a $2 Million Fine,” was published by The New York Times on July 21, 2017, and is available online.

I commented on an article published in RealClearDefense, on the impact of the April executive order highlighting the Trump administration’s intention to renew the focus on sourcing domestic resources and employees for government contracts. The order requires increased enforcement of current “Buy American” laws, which date back to the Depression-era statutes Congress passed in 1933. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Commerce Department released follow-up guidance in late June requiring all federal agencies to prepare a compliance plan by September 15, 2017.

Continue Reading “Buy American” Rules Have Major Implications for Defense

In an article published by Bloomberg BNA, I discussed the status of U.S. sanctions on Cuba in anticipation of the incoming change in administration. I believe Cuba may be a low priority for the Trump administration and that the president-elect will turn his attention to trade issues in other countries while the incoming Republican-controlled Congress won’t be particularly interested in lifting the trade embargo. “I certainly wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of movement on Cuba for the first year to year and a half of Trump’s administration,” I said in the article. “I just think he’ll have other higher priority items, especially in light of the fact that I don’t think he necessarily feels the need to open trade with Cuba and with most countries.”

The full article, “U.S.-Cuba Rail, Aviation, Port Deals in Jeopardy Under Trump,” was published by Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Report for Executives on December 14, 2016, and is available online.

As a follow-up to a previous article, we’ve authored further details about the actions a company should take to respond to a discovered violation of U.S. sanctions. As pointed out in our article, while each enforcement action is different, “a company should consider their response to an OFAC violation an opportunity to attempt to mitigate and shape the outcome. A company’s response to one OFAC violation can have an impact on any future violations.”

The full article, “OFAC Violation Response Checklist,” was published by Lexis Practice Advisor®. This article appeared as part of a series of practice notes for Lexis Practice Advisor®; other articles included:

We recently authored an article outlining steps a company should take to respond to a U.S. sanctions violation. The following actions are recommended:

  • Implement immediate remedial actions
  • Decide whether to self-disclose
  • Scope the internal investigation
  • Take corrective action
  • Negotiate with OFAC

The full article, “Responding to an OFAC Violation,” was published by Lexis Practice Advisor®. This article appeared as part of a series of practice notes for Lexis Practice Advisor®; other articles included:

Recently, I discussed contracting financial burdens in an article for National Defense Magazine outlining the potential for the new Trump administration to alleviate some regulations to lure new businesses into the government contract industry. As I point out in the article, “contracting regulations in recent years have added hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to federal suppliers. ‘And most of that cost would be passed on to taxpayer as higher cost paid by agencies.’ Reporting and auditing, burdens are especially onerous for commercial companies and a ‘deterrent to doing business with the government.'”

The full article, “National Security in the Trump Era Is Focus of Reagan Defense Forum,” was published by National Defense Magazine on December 2, 2016, and is available online.

We recently authored an article regarding U.S. sanctions compliance best practices. The article addresses:

  • Who is subject to U.S. sanctions;
  • Who is targeted by U.S. sanctions;
  • What actions are prohibited with sanctioned parties;
  • How to apply for authorization to perform prohibited activities;
  • The penalties that can be imposed for U.S. sanctions violations; and
  • Best practices for complying with U.S. sanctions.

The full article, “Understanding and Complying with OFAC Regulations,” was published by Lexis Practice Advisor®.

I provided comments for an article outlining the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to set-aside contracts and Federal Supply Schedule orders for eligible veteran-owned businesses under the Rule of Two.

The full article, “Supreme Ct. Backs Kingdomware: Vet Preference Applies to All VA Contracts,” was published by Set-Aside Alert on June 24, 2016 and is available online.

I offered insights for an article outlining ways that the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could affect the Washington, D.C. region. My comments are specific to how the transition could impact government contracting and benefit the defense trade.

The full article, “6 Ways Brexit Could Impact Washington Business,” was published by the Washington Business Journal on June 24, 2016 and is available online.