suspension and debarment

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Changes in suspension and debarment data reported by the government can provide the American public with substantially more insight into the types of entities (and individuals) excluded through suspensions, proposed debarments, and debarments, including that the overwhelming majority of excluded companies are small businesses.  These changes likely show that more than 90 percent of the businesses excluded by the Department of Defense in Fiscal Year 2016 were small businesses. In this blog post we discuss the current counting method used by the government, and present a revised counting method using recently completed Fiscal Year 2016 exclusion statistics to understand the current state of the government’s suspension and debarment system in a more nuanced way.

Current Counting Method

The statistics reported by the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC) in the annual ISDC Report cover only total numbers of suspensions, total proposed debarments, and total debarments.  This presentation could easily confuse readers because the aggregated data conceivably “triple counts” exclusions in a given year.  For example, a single individual or company may be suspended, proposed for debarment, and debarred in a given year and the ISDC Report would count that as three (3) separate actions.
Continue Reading State of Suspension/Debarment: FY2016 Statistics and the Impact on Small Businesses

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When assessing whether a contractor is eligible for award, contracting officers are required to conduct a meaningful present responsibility determination using the factors contained in FAR 9.1. However, a final rule issued by the FAR Council on September 30, 2016 has inserted a wild card into the process—the agency suspension and debarment official (SDO).

The final rule adopts an interim rule without change, which amends the FAR to establish the following representation and certification requirements:

  • Representation (FAR 52.209-11): Any corporation responding to a federal solicitation must represent whether it: (1) has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed and is not being appealed or paid in a timely manner; or (2) has a felony conviction for a violation under any federal law within the preceding 24 months. There is no de minimus amount for reporting tax delinquencies. Consistent with the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Acts, an affirmative response to either prong would create an automatic exclusion that precludes the award of federal contracts in a “shoot first, ask questions later” fashion.
  • Certification (FAR 52.209-12): Corporate offerors must certify to tax matters contained in FAR 52.209-12(b) when responding to certain solicitations where the resultant contract (including options) may have a value greater than $5 million. If applicable, contractors must ensure that their certifications are accurate; otherwise additional liability could arise for the submission of false statements.


Continue Reading Tough (Tax) Break: Federal Tax Delinquency and Felony Convictions Could Bar Corporations from Contract Award

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There are always clues.

After-action reviews nearly always identify signals that a crisis was about to begin. Small hints, tips, strange comments, or different attitudes from a customer. Something will be there. But these clues can be difficult to spot in the moment by busy in-house counsel or senior executives on the front lines of the business.

While skilled lawyers and professionals are available to support companies in full-blown crises, these teams with their cross-cutting skills are often engaged too late to shape the narrative before an all-consuming defense effort begins.

So the question becomes, how do government contractors get out in front of emerging issues, manage their risk, and mitigate as much of an impending crisis as possible? One possible answer is that systematic risk assessments and response protocols need to evolve to consider the emerging risk of parallel enforcement proceedings—to include suspension and debarment from further government contracting work—as well as the changing dynamics involved in settling a matter with the Department of Justice without a fulsome disclosure of misconduct by individuals.


Continue Reading Rethinking Government Contracts Crisis Management: Identifying Risk Before a Crisis Begins

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Contractors felt the squeeze from budget cutbacks and increased compliance requirements during 2013. As government agencies continue to operate under constrained budgets, competition for the federal contracts will remain intense. What should contractors expect in 2014? Join our Crowell & Moring team on Thursday, January 9 at 1:00 pm EST for a free webinar as

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While the administrative tools of suspension and debarment allow the government to prohibit entities from receiving contracts or grants directly, the procurement regulations also contain restrictions on prime contractors’ ability to subcontract with suspended or debarred entities. Historically, these restrictions, found at section 52.209-6 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, have:

  • Prohibited government contractors from entering