On February 8, 2017, the Department of Justice Fraud Section posted a new guidance document on its website entitled, “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” (“Compliance Guidance”). This Compliance Guidance, comprised of a number of topics and questions, comes a little over a year after the Fraud Section hired Hui Chen as its resident compliance expert. Tapping into her experience as both a prosecutor and a compliance professional at several large multinational companies, Ms. Chen has commented that an effective compliance program requires a whole-company commitment, and has emphasized the importance of leadership and key stakeholders in the compliance process. Her vision is evident in the Fraud Section’s recently released Compliance Guidance, which provides some insights into the mindset of prosecutors tasked with corporate investigations. The Compliance Guidance itself references two of the ten “Filip Factors,” an enumerated set of factors used by prosecutors in making charging decisions related to corporate entities. Although the Compliance Guidance cautions that the Fraud Section does not use a “rigid formula” to assess a company’s compliance program, the guidance provides a detailed list of compliance-focused sample topics and questions that the Fraud Section believes are relevant to its analysis.
In Guardian Angels Med. Serv. Dogs Inc. v. U.S. (Jan. 8, 2016), the Federal Circuit held that a CO’s request to evaluate additional information after a default termination “vitiated the finality” of the termination and reset the 12-month appeal clock, even though the CO neither received new information nor spent any time reconsidering her decision. Reversing the CFC’s dismissal of the appeal as time-barred, the court held that, when a CO “evince[s] a clear willingness to consider additional evidence,” the appeal period begins anew, rather than merely being suspended, and explained that “whether the contracting officer ‘spends time’ considering the request is not the proper standard.”