September 18, 2012
Contractor Suspensions and Debarments on Rise
Government Executive reports that suspensions and debarments of companies that violate federal contracting rules have increased across the government over the past three years, rising from just over 1,900 in fiscal 2009 to more than 3,000 in 2011, according to a new report. T
he report, from a coordinating body called the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee, follows up on a November 2011 memorandum from then-Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew directing 24 departments and agencies to step up efforts to combat waste, fraud and abuse, in part by appointing a senior official to be accountable for progress.
February 13, 2012
Air Force suspends Booz Allen San Antonio office
Federal Times reported that the Air Force has indefinitely suspended and proposed debarment for Booz Allen Hamilton's San Antonio office from future federal procurements for disclosure of protected proprietary information. Read the full article at http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120209/IT04/202090305/
February 01, 2012
An Ounce of Prevention, Hatch Act-Style
Thanks to Wayne Johnson for alerting us to the Office of Special Counsel's expansive policy on Hatch Act training:
Now that the 2012 President election season is under way, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is offering to provide agencies with speakers regarding the Hatch Act. To that end, OSC Hatch Act Unit attorneys will give training attendees an informative presentation on the statute and its political activity restrictions as well as provide many examples of permitted and prohibited activities and field any questions that attendees might have.
To request someone from the Hatch Act Unit to speak at an agency training session or event, you should complete the speaker request form found at http://www.osc.gov/outreachRequestOSCspeaker.htm. Once completed, fax the form to OSC Outreach at (202) 653-5161.
For additional information about the training OSC provides, you may contact Shirine Moazed, Washington Field Office Chief, at (202) 254-3600 or click on the following link http://www.osc.gov/outreach.htm which will direct you to the section of OSC’s website that discusses the outreach / training program.
December 15, 2011
GAO sustain protest against Army (PGE conflict?)
GAO sustained VSE Corporation protest on Army's termination of a contract awarded. The Army terminated the contract based on the contracting officer's (CO) finding that the award was tainted by the protester's hiring of a former government employee as a consultant and that individual's participation in the preparation of the protester's proposal created at least an appearance of impropriety. VSE contends that the CO's determination was unreasonable because it was based on assumptions and not facts.
B-404833.4, VSE Corporation (see http://www.gao.gov/products/B-404833.4)
November 01, 2011
News of Interest
The following articles may be of interest for our followers:
- Federal Computer Weekly reports on a new procurement requirement from DHS which requires that contractors working at DHS identify themselves as contractors during contract performance/agency interactions. See http://fcw.com/blogs/acquisitive-mind/2011/10/dhs-contractor-announcement-firstsource-ii.aspx?sc_lang=en. For DHS contract requirement, see H.7 of https://www.fbo.gov/download/84d/84db1bd57269bc4c9e560f8562029ede/October_28_Posting_for_FSII_-_Draft_RFP.pdf.
- Postal employee pleads guilty for stealing public funds and may face 20 in prison. See http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_19217889
August 05, 2011
VA Official Resigns
The report said that Jefferson and his deputy, John McWilliam, “abused their authority” by “coercing” VETS employees into awarding contracts to management consultant Stewart Liff, a former colleague of Jefferson’s.
Liff, a human resources and management consultant who was paid as much as $275 an hour, received approximately $700,000 over a 16-month period for services that could have been secured at a much lower cost through open competition, according to the report. The services included advice on the proper color scheme for offices. ...
Jefferson told investigators that he did not receive any training in federal government contracting or procurement. He said he told his deputies “to move quickly, and also legally, ethically and properly” in hiring Liff.
June 27, 2011
Need to collect Contractor Business Ethics Compliance info?
The Federal Register published a joint notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance requirement. Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments due Aug. 26, 2011. See Fed.Reg. at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-27/pdf/2011-16058.pdf.
April 29, 2011
New Proposal for Contractor Organizational Conflict of Interest Rules
On April 26, 2011, the Federal Register published a new proposal to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to provide revised regulatory coverage on organizational conflicts of interest (OCI). See proposed rule at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/2011-9415.htm.
The rule differs from the previous rule proposed in late 2010, allowing contracting officials greater flexibility in asessing risk. Of particular ethics-related interest, is the move of the OCI rules to Part 3 of the FAR, which addresses the personal conflict of interest of Government officials. Also, the rule would distinguish between OCI and situations involving unfair competitive advantage based on unequal access to information (e.g., Health Net case). See Federal Computer Weekly: http://fcw.com/articles/2011/04/26/organizational-conflict-of-interest-proposal.aspx?s=fcwdaily_270411.
March 21, 2011
Earmark Handling Leads to Ethics Trouble
Fedsmith has a story concerning a former NASA executive's conviction on ethics-related charges. Here is the introduction to Susan Smith's article:
A former NASA executive has lost big in his appeal of criminal convictions stemming from his role in allocating a $15 million congressional earmark when he was serving as Associate Administrator of the agency. In United States of America v. Stadd, C.A.D.C. No. 09-3121, 3/4/11, the appeals court has affirmed Stadd’s conviction on all three counts.
The written decision is remarkable in its disclosure of the realities of Congressional earmarks, dealings between Congressmen and an agency head, and the lengths to which an agency might go to put the new leader’s hand picked key official into a significant executive position. It also shows that the federal criminal conflict of interest laws are alive and well and even the highest agency officials can get ensnared and eventually convicted if these laws are violated, dragging the agency and its head into the mire in the process.
Thanks to an alert IEC reader for drawing this significant matter to our attention.
February 24, 2011
Contractor Ethics - FEMA Presentation Materials & Handouts (Mar. 2011)
Please remember to bring your own copies of the relevant handouts for the upcoming meeting.
Power Point Presentation: Download FEMA Acq Ethics Brief 2011 (black white)
FEMA specific guidance:
- Download Contractor Logo on FEMA Publications and Documents to Congress
- Download Kor FEMA workplace 2007
- Download TRAINING EXAMPLES FOR VIOLATION GAMEREVISED3
- Download DHS Form 11000-6 NDA
- Download 2011_02_23_sourceseltechevalKethicsBW
Other references and resources:
- Download 31 USC 1349
- Download 48 CFR 37 114 contractorID themselvesFAR
- Download DO-06-023 wking with contractors
- Download Subpart 9 FAR OCI
February 04, 2011
Ethics in the News
- White House "Myth Buster" on communications with contractors. See OMB Memorandum at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/Myth-Busting.pdf and GovExec article at http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=47020&dcn=e_gvet.
- Former Congressional staffer convicted for misuse of position for personal gain--using position to receive unauthorized bonus payments ($75,000). See DOJ press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-crm-141.html.
- Former State Dept. employee, charged in part with criminal conflict of interest, was found guilty of stealing approximately $250,000 intended for the payment of shipping and customs services for the embassy. See DOJ Press Release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-crm-146.html.
January 20, 2011
Army Contracting official sentenced to 60 months in bribery scheme
After pleading guilty to bribery, Army Major Roderick D. Sanchez was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and three years of supervised probation in addition to a $15,000 fine and forfeiture of items received as part of the scheme. See DOJ press release at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-crm-067.html.
January 13, 2011
Ethics Related Reminders
The Simplified Acquisition Threshold increased from $100,000 to $150,000, effective October 1, 2010. See 75 FR 53129-53135 (Aug. 30, 2010) at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-21025.pdf.
The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act "minimal value" was last increased in 2008 and is due for possible updating this year.
January 06, 2011
POGO article on new DoD Contractor Organizational Conflict rule
Project on Government Oversight (POGO) published an article on the DoD final rule on contractors' organizational conflict of interest (OCI). See POGO article at http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2011/01/2010-ends-with-contracting-ethics-defeat.html. See DoD final rule on OCI related to major defense acquisitions programs at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-32713.pdf
June 24, 2010
Public Access to Contractor Integrity Database?From The Project On Government Oversight (POGO), discussion of attempts to open up the new government contractor integrity and performance database, FAPIIS (the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System).
June 07, 2010
OGE Guide on Conferences (May 2010)
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) recently compiled the first edition of a reference guide on conferences. The guide includes information on not only Government ethics implications, but also fiscal, procurement, and other legal issues that often arise when Federal personnel are involved in conferences. OGE collaborated with several other entities in creating this guide, they include but are not limited to GAO, GSA, DoD, EPA, and HHS.
Please note this is ONLY meant as a reference guide to help you begin to understand the legal aspects of conferences. It should not be referenced as an authoritative document, but rather users should cite the the primary sources of the information cited in the guide.
Remember this is a working document. If you have comments, or suggestions, or wish to add your agency's perspective, please do so at www.contactoge.gov.
April 22, 2010
Public Access to FAPIIS Database?The Project for Government Oversight has filed a FOIA request for information in the FAPIIS database discussed here recently. Scott Amey stated the POGO position:
It’s illogical to think that the public will be denied access to a database that compiles press releases, agreements, and information from government websites. The public should demand access to this information in order to hold agencies and contractors accountable.
April 21, 2010
New Contractor Information Coming OnlineThe Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) request for comments recently announced in the Federal Register, is a new database "designed to improve the Government’s ability to evaluate the business ethics and expected performance quality of prospective contractors and protect the Government from awarding contracts to contractors that are not responsible sources. OMB Director Peter Orzag has a blog post on the subject, and the Project on Government Oversight has some background information.
December 08, 2009
Army mentoring deals bypass ethics laws
USAToday reports - The Army used a loophole in federal ethics law to award lucrative contracts to two recently retired generals, departing from its standard practice for hiring senior advisers, according to public records and interviews.
See full article at http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-12-07-mcneill_N.htm.
November 27, 2009
House Panel Probes Army Contract
The Washington Post reports on a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation of Army contracting practices. The Committee Chair announced that he will use one incident to kick off a broader probe of Pentagon procurement practices:
The [immediate] investigation focuses on a technology program that Raymond ran at Fort Belvoir as part of the Communications-Electronics Command.
In 2004, Raymond attended a technology conference in Hawaii, where he met Catherine Campbell, a contractor. The two became close friends and frequently sailed and walked together, documents and interviews show. They also traveled to conferences and frequently exchanged e-mail.
Last year, after an Army lawyer questioned the relationship, an internal Army inquiry found evidence that Raymond had allegedly violated several federal contracting regulations and laws, including passing on confidential government cost estimates to Campbell, according to an Army investigative report.
In the interview with The Post, Raymond acknowledged sharing the information, but he said he did so only to help teach Campbell how the procurement system works.
September 29, 2009
Contractor Code of Ethics Rule Implementation
September 19, 2009
Air Force to Resolve Tanker Procurement
A Government Executive article alludes to the current status of the long-troubled Air Force tanker procurement. Here's the first paragraph:
May 11, 2009
Indictment on 23 counts of bribery and honest service fraud
A recently unsealed 23-count indictment alleges that a civilian contractor paid more than $2.8 million in bribes to a U.S. Army contracting official stationed at Camp Arifjan, an Army base in Kuwait, and the official’s wife, and that the three individuals committed honest services fraud and money laundering offenses in connection with the same conduct.
See DOJ press release http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2009/May/09-crm-449.html
January 18, 2009
New Pentagon Rule Slows Revolving Door
Government Executive reports:
The interim rule in the Jan. 15 issue of the Federal Register, attempts to slow the revolving door between government and private industry. It was among a blitz of new regulations published on Thursday by DoD and other government agencies, responding primarily to legislation passed by Congress in the fiscal 2008 and 2009 Defense authorization measures.
Among the most significant rules is a regulation barring Pentagon officials who have "participated personally and substantially in a DoD acquisition exceeding $10 million or who [have] held a key acquisition position" from accepting a job with a defense contractor without first obtaining a written opinion from a Defense ethics counselor. The counselor will determine which, if any, activities the official can perform on behalf of the contractor for the first two years after the official leaves government.
December 03, 2008
Contractor Business Ethics Compliance Program
There is new guidance concerning the Contractor Business Ethics Compliance Program:
- Federal Acquisition Regulation: FAR Case 2007-006, Contractor Business Ethics Compliance Program and Disclosure Requirements
- Federal Acquisition Regulations: Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-28; Introduction, 67064 [E8-26810]
- Small Entity Compliance Guide, 67093 [E8-26809]
September 24, 2008
Ethics In Federal Contracting Course
We have no experience with the vendor, but the Ethics in Federal Contracting course looks like it could have some value. The announcement gives the "Course Objectives" as:
After successful completion of this training course, the student will be able to:
- Explain the meaning and purpose of ethics, particularly as related to federal government employees engaged in acquisition
- Identify and avoid problem areas through awareness of and adherence to ethics laws and regulations
June 25, 2008
2 Plead Guilty in Army Bribery Scheme
Army contracting officer pled guilty to involvement in $9M procurement scandal. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/24/AR2008062401341_pf.html
June 02, 2008
Open Compliance and Ethics Group
Government Executive reports on the Open Compliance and Ethics Group, a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization that is trying to assist government contractors and subcontractors in complying with government rules, including the new requirement for contractor codes of conduct:
OCEG's goal was to provide a structured point of reference -- particularly for small and mid-size firms that cannot afford high-priced attorneys or compliance teams -- as well as to reduce the waste of resources that nearly all contractors experience in keeping up with the government's complex amalgam of regulations, according to Switzer. ...
"Federal procurement rules and regulations are complex and the risks can be substantial if contracts are not entered into without sufficient due diligence on the part of the contractor," said Brian Simmons, national director of Ernst & Young's government contract practice.
June 01, 2008
Improper Pressure on Thunderbirds Contract Selection
Defense News reports on five Air Force officials, including the vice director of the Joint Staff, being disciplined after a Jan. 30 IG report implicated them in a 2005 attempt to steer a five-year, $49.9 million contract to produce multimedia presentations for Thunderbirds air shows. In accordance with Privacy Act rules on disclosure of senior employees, the 250-page report redacts the names of four junior members, but released the name of the senior official involved, Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein.
In one point that could be used in instruction, while Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley was not disciplined, he was placed in the awkward situation of having to defend himself against an appearance of impropriety, due to social engagements between him and partners in the company before, during and after the contract competition:
In an interview with Air Force Times, Moseley said he did not discuss the project with Shipley or Hornburg in e-mails and discussions during the selection process.
"I know where those boundaries are and never crossed any of those ethical or contracting boundary lines," Moseley said. "There was a definite boundary of not talking about that stuff. ... It was never brought up."
April 07, 2008
Proposed FAR Change Requiring Contractor Self-Reporting
The April Government Executive magazine has a feature story on the November 2007 proposal by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulation Council to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation and require that contractors report possible criminal violations of federal law to agency contracting officers and inspectors general.
March 06, 2008
Boeing Loses Tanker Contract
Boeing suffered a large financial hit after losing a $40 billion contract to build a new generation of Air Force tankers. A Government Executive story weighs some of the fallout.
While some analysts claimed the company's 2002 ethics scandal, which resulted in Air Force and Boeing officials serving prison time, was not a factor in the decision, others were not so sure. The Seattle Times quoted one worker:
Michael Cummins, 52, of Everett, blamed the ethics scandal that emerged during the earlier tanker competition for costing Boeing the bid this time as well.
"It boils down to past history," said Cummins, who works on interior mechanics for planes including the 767. "You can never take things back after they're done."
Analyst Loren Thompson told Reuters:
Boeing is still coping with the aftermath of the procurement scandal earlier in the decade. It had great difficulty communicating with its Air Force customer and understanding how its customer was thinking.
The decision provoked memories of the previous tanker competition. Darleen A. Druyun, the top Air Force procurement chief in 2002, admitted that she favored Boeing while negotiating for a job with the company. Both she and Boeing's former CFO went to prison, and Boeing paid $615 million to settle charges of misconduct. Air Force officials denied these events were a factor in the current decision. Sue C. Payton, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said of the previous controversy, "That was a half-decade ago."
Whatever the reason for the newest Air Force decision, a perception that ethics violations can hurt the bottom line in a big way may be a good thing for the procurement community and the government in the long run.
January 28, 2008
Ethics Rankings of Government Contractors?
Government Executive magazine reports on a private sector thinktank's plan to issue rankings of government contractor ethics programs:
"It is kind of vogue to bash government contractors ... because of a few bad apples," Brigham said. "It makes sense to give a lot of credit to the companies that are doing it right, and a tweak on the nose to the companies that aren't aligning with what the new government regulations are."
The group is using a voluntary online questionnaire as the primary means of gathering information. The questionnaire covers four major areas: codes of ethics and business conduct; leadership and tone from the top; internal control systems; and training and communication programs. Various measures and accomplishments in these areas have been assigned weight values, and the institute also will be doing its own research into companies' practices and programs.
January 21, 2008
A Mission to Rebuild Reputations
A Washington Post feature article entitled A Mission to Rebuild Reputations surveys the environment after highly publicized procurement scandals. An excerpt:
Boeing says it has made improvements to strengthen the ethics and integrity in its policies and procedures. It combined three divisions to create the Office of Internal Governance, which employs 600 people and helps ensure that all employees get ethics training and that deals are executed fairly.
The Air Force shifted its selection process from one person with virtually absolute power, as Druyun had, to decisions made by the top acquisition official who gets input from advisers.
"We want to be more transparent, have more communication, more checks and balances to improve our process and credibility," Miller said.
January 11, 2008
Comments on Contractor Compliance/Reporting Proposal Due Monday
Comments are due Monday, January 14 on the proposal to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to, among other things, require contractors who become aware of possible legal violations to report them to the government. Here are some resources we've collected to assist those who want to comment on this significant proposal:
- Download 72_fr_64019_contractor_compliance_and_integrity_reporting.doc (72 FR 64019, the proposal)
- Download far_amendment_support_letter.pdf (A letter already submitted supporting the proposal)
- Download far_change_talking_points.doc (Summary of a few of the reasons change is desirable)
- Download larsen_article.pdf (An article describing the successful implementation of a similar program at the National Reconnaisance Office)
January 07, 2008
GAO Decision on Tanker Contract
The GAO last week sustained Pemco's protest over how cost and price were evaluated. Its decision said the "record does not reflect any Air Force analysis as to the realism of certain changes" in Boeing's final proposals "or the potential risk associated with those changes." Officials in the procurement division of the Air Force said they expect to respond to the GAO's findings soon.The GAO did not rule on Pemco's allegations that a senior Air Force official [i.e., the late Charles D. Riechers] in the office that awarded the contract had a conflict of interest. ...The GAO said it had been advised by the Air Force that "both local law enforcement and federal government investigative authorities are conducting an ongoing investigation into 'the root cause' of Mr. Riechers' death."The agency's statement said that "it is our understanding that this investigation will encompass matters that may have a bearing on Pemco's allegations of bias." Because of the ongoing investigations, the GAO "does not express any opinion regarding Pemco's bias allegations."
December 15, 2007
Proposed 2008 Defense Authorization
Government Executive reports that the 2008 Defense authorization bill now under consideration would impose more restrictions on Pentagon officials who leave to work for defense contractors. Other aspects of the bill of interest to ethics officials include:
- Increased oversight of security contractors.
- Protections for contractor employees who claim whistleblower status.
- Creation of a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
November 13, 2007
POGO: Down on Awards from Contractors
POGO (the Project on Government Oversight) does not have a high opinion of contractor-sponsored awards to government officials:
This contractor-sponsored extravaganza honored government and industry partnering to achieve “excellence.” We’re not sure what that means exactly, but a number of reports from the dinner indicate that contractors feted themselves for landing large government contract awards, and for generally doing everything they can to permeate all facets of government agency operations, making the distinctions between public servants and their contractor “partners” ever more blurred. Particularly disturbing were the honors bestowed on current government executives... . These government leaders may very well merit praise for their service on behalf of the public, but it is quite disconcerting to see that praise lavished upon them by contractors who receive billions of dollars a year in contract awards from the organizations these people run.
October 10, 2007
OMB Distributes OGE Pamphlet on Ethics and Procurement
Last week OMB distributed copies of the new OGE pamphlet on ethics and procurment integrity mentioned here last month to Chief Acquistion Officers and senior procurement executives, with a request that they further publicize the pamphlet. Personnel at your agency may have follow-up questions.
The cover letter noted that the pamphlet would be "particularly helpful to agency personnel whom may not have extensive acquisition training yet perform acquisition functions."
September 24, 2007
Reminder: Friday Deadline for Pamphlet Orders
Friday, September 28 is the deadline for ordering OGE's new booklet What You Need to Know as a Federal Employee Involved in the Procurement and Acquistion Process. Cost will vary depending on the total number ordered, but is estimated to be about 78 cents per copy.
September 13, 2007
OGE Booklet on Ethics & Procurement Integrity
OGE's new booklet What You Need to Know as a Federal Employee Involved in the Procurement and Acquistion Process is now available. It's intended as a handout. The OGE web site has ordering information. Note the Sept. 28 deadline.
April 23, 2007
Contractor Code of Ethics Comment Period Extended
The comment period has been extended until May 23, 2007, for comments on the proposed change to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) regarding the requirement for contractor codes of ethics and business conduct. Federal Register, 4/23/2007. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/07-1985.pdf
February 22, 2007
Keeping Current with Procurement Fraud Convictions
One way to keep current on convictions and indictments by the Federal Procurement Fraud Task Force is to visit their website at http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/npftf/pr/press_releases/ where they keep a list of their activities. Wonderful examples for your training.
February 16, 2007
FAR Council Proposes FAR Requirements for Contractor Ethics Compliance Program
The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and Defense Acquisition Regulations Council are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require contractors receiving Federal contracts, that exceed $5M that have performance periods of 120 days or more, to have a written code of ethics and business conduct, establish a compliance training program, establish an internal control system, and display OIG fraud hotline posters.
Comments on the proposed rule are due before April 17, 2007. See Federal Register of February 16, 2007, at page 7588. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/07-698.pdf
January 23, 2007
More Procurement Oversight?
A Federal Computer Week article suggests that recent procurement scandals will trigger a new round of oversight, possibly including investigations like the "Ill Wind" probes of the 1980s:
Some procurement experts think lawmakers are poised to initiate a new round of reforms following recent scandals surrounding former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his friend and former GSA chief of staff David Safavian, and former defense contractor Darlene Druyun.
“The environment we’re entering into now is reminiscent of the environment that was kicked off by the Operation Ill Wind scandals [when] you saw a real crackdown on government contractors,” said Dave Nadler, a partner at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro. “In the last two or three years, we have seen a litany of ethical lapses that have caused and will continue to cause Congress to crack down on government contractors.”
January 22, 2007
Sole Source GSA Contract Questioned
Congressional investigators are looking into charges that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan tried to give a no-bid contract to a company run by her longtime friend. The $20,000 contract was to produce a 24-page report promoting GSA’s use of minority- and woman-owned businesses. Apparently GSA terminated the contract last summer after GSA lawyers and other agency officials flagged the problems.
FCW.com News has a story on the controversy.
August 07, 2006
Yukins Presentation on Ethics & Procurement
GWU Law School Professor Christopher Yukins' presentation to the IEC August meeting is now available for downloading in MS PowerPoint format.
July 31, 2006
Guidance on Contractors in the Federal Workplace Published by DoD
The Department of Defense Standards of Conduct Office recently released guidance to ethics counselors involving issues that frequently arise when contractor personnel are working in the Federal workplace. The guidance identifies applicable statutes and regulations, and proposes workplace solutions.
The guidance is available at: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/resource_library/guidance.htm
June 05, 2006
Addressing Stress on Procurement Workforce?
A Government Executive Op-Ed piece argues that various changes, including increased ethics rules, have led to problems for government procurement officials. The authors conclude:
There has been little attempt in the media to explore root causes of the inefficiencies and stress inherent in the federal procurement system. Instead, issues of ethics have been mingled with issues of efficiency, leading to the conclusion that the contracts profession should be subjected to more regulation and management.
Regardless of any long-term solutions proposed, three immediate actions could prevent the coming train wreck:
- Enlarge the procurement workforce. Considering the increased workload during the past decade, staffing reductions and the critical missions required today, more resources are needed.
- Expand and intensify efforts to market federal procurement careers to recent college graduates. Existing authorities - including recruitment and relocation bonuses and stepped-up grade and within-grade hiring salaries - should be used to attract the best and brightest.
- Implement universal training, qualification and certification of contracting personnel across government and industry. These standards should include equivalencies outside government to help attract mid-career and senior contracting professionals from industry.
January 12, 2006
Top DoD Acquisition Official Asks top 100 Contractors to Emphasize Integrity
In a letter to the leaders of the largest 100 Department of Defense contractors, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics asked them to articulate the Department's shared expectations of high integrity and ethical conduct, and to speak out frequently on the importance of ethical behavior as part of their values. The letter emphasized not only "doing things right," but "doing the right thing."
A sample letter may be found at http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/general/ethics.htm
December 06, 2005
GAO Questions No-Bid Air Force Iraq Contracts
"GAO has put its foot down: The [Pentagon] can't take shortcuts in competition that violate the law, even in a time of war."
That is the conclusion Christopher R. Yukins, assistant professor of government contract law at George Washington University has drawn from a Government Accounting Office report on an Air Force decision to let some no-bid contracts for help in building a government in Iraq. A Washington Post article (reprinted at the Air Force publication Aim Points) summarizes the GAO report that concluded the hastily-let contracts were a "gross error."