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Koprince Law LLC

I am pleased to announce that Shane McCall has joined our team of government contracts attorney-authors here at SmallGovCon.  Shane is an associate attorney with Koprince Law LLC, where his practice focuses on federal government contracts law.

Before joining our team,  Shane was an attorney with Lentz Clark Deines PA, where he advised individuals and small businesses alike on complex legal matters.  Check out Shane’s full biography to learn more about our newest author, and don’t miss his first SmallGovCon post on how “fair and reasonable pricing” is evaluated under solicitations requiring line-item prices.


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Koprince Law LLC

I am very pleased to announce that Jennifer Tucker has joined our team of authors here at SmallGovCon.  Jennifer is an associate attorney at Koprince Law LLC, where her practice focuses on federal government contracts law.  Before joining Koprince Law LLC, Jennifer practiced contracts law with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the University of Kansas.  Jennifer also had the fortune (or is that misfortune?) of being classmates with a certain other government contracts attorney in the 2015 Leadership Lawrence program.

You can check out Jennifer’s biography on the Koprince Law LLC website, and her first SmallGovCon post (about the GAO’s very strict rules for electronic proposals) right here.  Be sure to check back regularly for more legal news and notes from Jennifer and our other great SmallGovCon authors.


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Koprince Law LLC

If you’ve been reading SmallGovCon regularly (and I certainly hope that you have!), the name Ian Patterson may ring a bell.  Ian has been a law clerk at Koprince Law LLC since May 2015, and has been credited as the primary author of many SmallGovCon blog posts during that time, including an important recent post on the Rothe Development 8(a) case.

I am pleased to announce that Ian has been admitted to the Bar and is now an Associate Attorney at Koprince Law.  Please feel free to browse Ian’s biography for more information about the latest addition to our growing team, and check back here soon for more of Ian’s writings on government contracts law.


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Koprince Law LLC

I am very pleased to announce that Candace Shields is joining our team of government contracts bloggers here at SmallGovCon.

Candace comes to us from the Social Security Administration, where she was an Attorney Advisor for several years.  As an associate attorney at Koprince Law LLC, Candace’s practice focuses on federal government contracts law.

Please check out Candace’s online biography and great first blog post, and be sure to visit SmallGovCon regularly for the latest legal news and notes for small government contractors.


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Koprince Law LLC

I hope that all of our readers had a happy Thanksgiving.  The holiday season is in full swing here at Koprince Law LLC, where we have a festive tree in our lobby and holiday cookies in the kitchen.

But between holiday shopping and snacking, there is still plenty happening in the world of federal government contracts.  Today, we have a special SmallGovCon “Weeks” in Review, beginning with stories from November 21.  The latest news and commentary includes two different cases in which business owners were convicted procurement fraud, a potential end to the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations, and much more.

  • DBE fraud: an Illinois contractor pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud after allegedly acting as a disadvantaged business for another company, resulting in fines over $200,000. [Construction Dive]
  • President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule for federal contractors appears to be headed for the chopping block once President-elect Trump takes office. [Government Executive]
  • A proposed rule by the FAR Council would amend the FAR to implement a section of the NDAA that will clarify that agency personnel are permitted and encouraged to engage in responsible constructive exchanges with industry. [Federal Register]
  • The GSA’s SAM database is under fire for the accuracy of its data and Members of Congress are questioning how GSA ensures tax delinquent vendors do not win federal contracts or grants. [Committee on Oversight and Government Reform]
  • The owner of a sham “veteran-owned” company has been ordered to forfeit $6.7 million for his part in recruiting veterans as figurehead owners of  a construction company in order to receive specialized government contracts. [The United States Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts]
  • Court documents show that a former employee with the U.S. Department of State was guilty of steering sole-sourcing contracts worth $2 million to a company in which his son was a 50 percent interest. [KTVH]
  • The election of Donald Trump had a surprise impact on the November House-Senate conference meetings on the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. [Government Executive]
  • Bloomberg Government data shows that federal information technology spending on government-wide acquisition contracts, or GWACs, topped $10 billion for the first time in fiscal 2016. [Bloomberg Government]

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Koprince Law LLC

As we step into December, I am looking forward the 2017 National Veterans Small Business Engagement conference next week. The NVSBE is one of my favorite annual government contracting events.  If you’ll be in St. Louis next week, please stop by the Koprince Law LLC booth to say hello.

SmallGovCon Week in Review took a break last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so today’s edition covers government contracting news and notes from the past two weeks.  In this edition, several companies have protested the GSA’s recent Alliant 2 awards, two whistleblowers receive a big payout after uncovering procurement fraud, GAO bid protests declined in 2017 (while the effectiveness rate of protests went up), and much more.

  • Illegal kickbacks totaling $300,000 from an Afghan subcontractor have resulted in a 21-month prison sentence. [Stars and Stripes]
  • Two whistleblowers get a big payout after they uncovered substantial fraud being committed by a Japanese company against the U.S. military. [Pacific Daily News]
  • According to one commentator, a low-ball bid on a military support contract has led to wage cuts and mass resignations that are devastating National Guard employees. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
  • The number of GAO bid protests declined in Fiscal Year 2017, while the effectiveness rate of protests rose. [Nextgov] (and see my take here).
  • An Army Reserve officer has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $4.4 million for fraudulently supplying hundreds of thousands of Chinese produced baseball caps and backpacks and passing them off as American-made. [Stars and Stripes]
  • Several companies are protesting the Alliant 2 contract awards made earlier this month by the GSA. [Nextgov]
  • Four men have been charged for defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars for falsely presenting themselves as a minority-owned small business over a five-year period. [AlbuquerqueJornal]

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Koprince Law LLC

Happy New Year!  For those currently being impacted by the “bomb cyclone” I hope you are safe and warm and that there is sunshine in your near future.  While we haven’t had much snow here in Kansas, we have seen some below-zero temperatures.  I’m staying warm and cozy in the office with a “venti” cup of hot coffee, my Koprince Law LLC fleece and the new RAND Corporation report on bid protests (more on that report later today!)

It’s Friday, which means that it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review.  This week, we take a look at why a government shutdown could be bad for WOSBs, tips for contractors attempting to comply with the DoD’s new cybersecurity mandates, the RAND Corporation releases that major bid protest study, and much more.

  • A look at the financial strain a government shutdown could cause WOSBs. [Bustle]
  • The battle over the $50 billion Alliant 2 IT contract is moving to the judicial arena, as those who missed out evidently are trying another avenue to gain a place on this key vehicle. [Washington Technology]
  • The Department of Defense issued a final rule amending the DFARS to incorporate revised thresholds for application of the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and the Free Trade Agreements. [Federal Register]
  • ‘That’s the Worst!’: Acquisition regulations we love to hate. [Federal Times]
  • Here are “five golden rules” for contractors to meet the DoD’s new cybersecurity requirements. [Federal News Radio]
  • A major new independent report appears to validate what some of us (ahem) have been saying for awhile: protests are not an excessive burden on the Defense procurement system. [Federal News Radio]
  • Speaking of new reports, here’s one that may fly under the radar: the GAO has released an important study about how contracting officers assign NAICS codes–and how often those assignments are challenged. [U.S. Government Accountability Office]

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Koprince Law LLC

Happy New Year and welcome back to the SmallGovCon Week In Review. I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season and is jumping full force into 2017. We bring you a double edition today, as we took a little time off from delivering you our weekly publication last week.

It may have been the holiday season, but it was still a busy two weeks of developments in the world of federal government contracting. In this week’s edition, the President has signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (click here for SmallGovCon‘s complete 2017 NDAA coverage), alleged procurement fraud results in a whopping $4.5 million settlement, President-elect Trump’s administration may prioritize Buy American policies, Guy Timberlake takes a look at how FY 2016 contracting dollars were obligated, and much more.

  • Guy Timberlake takes a look at how fiscal year 2016 obligated dollars got to small business concerns based on solicitation type and the award instruments used to help small businesses minimize lost dollars and lost time. [GovConChannel]
  • Frustrations with security clearance waiting times are growing, but the latest report from Performance.gov shows the administration spent the year putting several key building blocks in place to implement future security clearance reforms and insider threat programs. [Federal News Radio]
  • A Florida-based company will shell out $4.5 million to settle allegations that it submitted inflated invoices to the government for work performed at the Joint Base Andrews. [United States Department of Justice]
  • President-elect Trump said that his administration will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American–will the Buy American Act be more strictly applied? [MarketWatch]
  • President Obama signed the 2017 NDAA–loaded with government contracting provisions—into law. [Military Times]
  • Small business contractors breathed a sigh of relief after the final version of the 2017 NDAA omitted a proposed provision that would have gutted the DoD’s small business goaling program. [Forbes]
  • Several dozen companies earned $1 billion or more from federal contracts in Fiscal Year 2015, and 34 of those are publicly traded companies. CNBC has compiled a list of the top earners. [CNBC]
  • How well do you understand how agencies classify the goods and services you want them to buy from you? Guy Timberlake encourages contractors to look beyond NAICS codes. [GovConChannel]
  • U.S. Cyber Command will soon be hiring an acquisition expert to handle the $75 million Congress afforded the command in last year’s defense authorization act. [Federal News Radio]
  • A recent report to Congress ties lower contract costs, reduced costs overruns and arrested cost growth on major programs with the DoD’s “should cost” initiative. [Federal News Radio]
  • The 2017 NDAA reorganizes the Department of Defense acquisition but splitting up the AT&L office isn’t the only organizational change spelled out in the 2017 NDAA. [Washington Technology]
  • Too big to debar? The Department of Labor is trying to bar Google from doing business with the federal government unless Google turns over confidential information about thousands of employees. [CBS News]
  • A December 29th audit substantiated allegations that Bonneville Power’s administration of 1,921 active service contracts “created prohibited personal services contracts by establishing improper employer/employee relationships with supplemental labor workers.” [Government Executive]

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Koprince Law LLC

Happy Friday! Here at Koprince Law, we’ve been busy posing for pictures for our new firm website (coming soon) and enjoying our annual trip to the Taste of Lawrence event last night, where we were able to enjoy food from local restaurants, hear live music and interact with the community.

Even with all that fun we have managed to bring you this edition (albeit a little later in the day) of SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, we bring you the latest on the ENCORE III bid protest, a look at the how a continuing resolution will affect contractors, underfunding of efforts to investigate whistleblower claims, and more.

  • A $5 billion, ten-year agreement with a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin was rescinded due to concerns over the sale of the subsidiary to Leidos. [Defense News]
  • The Government Accountability Office detailed its rationale in the ENCORE III bid protest, saying that the reason for the “sustain” decision wasn’t that the Defense Information Systems Agency wanted to award spots on the ten-year contract on a lowest-price technically acceptable basis. [Federal News Radio]
  • Federal contracting companies have come to terms with the fact that the new fiscal year will begin next month with a congressional stopgap budget measure. [Washington Business Journal]
  • A memorandum entitled Commercial Items and the Determination of Reasonableness of Price for Commercial items has been rescinded and new guidelines have been issued in its place. [Office of the Under Secretary of Defense]
  • The Pentagon’s acting inspector general told Congress this week a chronic underfunding of his office played a major role in the extensive delays surrounding its investigations into whistleblower reprisal claims. [Federal News Radio]
  • The GSA has issued a proposed regulation to incorporate Other Direct Costs into the Multiple Award Schedule program. [GSA]
  • Intelligence agencies are increasingly turning to contractors for talented information specialists and scientists as the in-house talent pool wanes. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

Football season is back, and the Chiefs certainly gave those in our neck of the woods something to cheer for last night. I wish I could say I felt sorry for our SmallGovCon Patriots fans, but those five Super Bowl Rings ought to take the sting out of an opening-week loss.

I’ll be watching my share of football on Sunday, but before the weekend starts, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review.  In this edition, two Arkansas men are headed to trial on procurement fraud charges, GSA awarded a $700 billion contract, a company vying for a piece of the border wall contract was previously investigated for alleged mentor-protege improprieties, and much more.

  • Despite what many said was an unfriendly environment for federal contractors, fiscal 2016 was a pretty darn good year for vendors. [Federal News Radio]
  • A Pennsylvania husband and wife have been charged with making bribes in an attempt to expedite their DOT DBE application. [Department of Justice]
  • Two Arkansas men are headed to trial to face accusations of defrauding the federal government out of millions of dollars worth of contracts. [Arkansas Online]
  • One of the four companies picked to provide border wall prototypes has paid more than $3 million to settle a Justice Department criminal investigation into whether it defrauded the U.S. government through the mentor-protege program aimed at helping disadvantaged small business contractors. [Politico]
  • Two American banks have been announced as winners of a $700 billion federal charge card program contract through the GSA. [Government Executive]
  • The pick to lead the General Services Administration is popular but she is going to face some tough questions from Congress before she moves on to the challenges of running a large and complex agency. [FCW]
  • Guy Timberlake suggests that “NAICS Code Amnesia” could be a good thing for federal contractors. [LinkedIn]

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Koprince Law LLC

Fall is officially here, and that means that the leaves are turning color, it’s apple-picking season, and football is a big part of my typical weekend (both on TV, and chasing around my three-year-old son as he scores touchdown after touchdown in our living room).

But for those of us involved in federal government contracts, it’s hard to think of the fall without also thinking of the end of the government’s fiscal year, and all that it entails.  In this, the final SmallGovCon Week in Review of the 2016 Fiscal Year, we have stories on a large software vendor pulling out of the GSA schedule, Guy Timberlake’s unvarnished–and very important–commentary on a terrible change being proposed to small business goaling, and more.

  • One of the largest software vendors in the world is telling the General Services Administration, thanks, but we can live without you. [Federal News Radio]
  • An Army procurement initiative is pursuing a strategy of “ruthless prioritization.” [Federal News Radio]
  • The General Services Administration gave the go-ahead to 109 vendors who won spots on the Human Capital and Training Solutions unrestricted and small business contracts to begin promoting and selling against the governmentwide acquisition contract. [Federal News Radio]
  • The SBA seeks comments on a proposed amendment to its regulations governing the small business timber set-aside program so that appraisals on small business set-aside sales be made to the nearest small business mill. [Federal Register]
  • Guy Timberlake takes a look at rule changes that are being implemented that he feels will kill small business participation in federal contracting. [GovConChannel]
  • A commentator offers a warning about “one size fits all” procurement solutions. [Washington Technology]
  • Six industry associations are asking the government to delay the implementation of new rules around safe workplaces and fair pay for at least a year. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

It’s a sad day here at Koprince Law. Molly Schemm, who has been my fantastic legal executive assistant since before the firm’s doors even opened, is leaving to pursue new adventures in Alabama.  All of us here at the firm will miss Molly dearly–and we won’t be the only ones.  Molly’s warmth and professionalism have earned her many friends among our clients, too.  We wish Molly the very best.

Before the weekend begins (and Molly begins her drive South), it’s time for your weekly dose of SmallGovCon Week In Review.  In this edition, a provision commonly known as the “Amazon” amendment is garnering renewed attention, an Alabama contractor is sentenced for defrauding the government, SAM is getting a makeover, and much more.

  • A recent DoD memo provides guidance regarding the implementation of DFARS Clause 252.204-7012, which governs safeguarding covered defense information and cyber incident reporting. [Office of Under Secretary of Defense]
  • Some in the House of Representatives want to make federal procurement less complex and more competitive.  But is the so-called “Amazon Amendment” the way forward? [Federal News Radio]
  • A contractor was ordered to repay the full amount of contracts awarded after he was found guilty on criminal charges of falsely obtaining Small Business Innovation Research contracts with the DoD and NASA. [United States Department of Justice]
  • The GAO released a length report regarding agencies’ compliance with OSDBU requirements. [GAO]
  • The GSA is working on a new look for SAM. You can now check out the beta version of the website and provide your feedback on what will eventually become the permanent site. [fedscoop]
  • Recent studies show that the percentage of overall research and development spending sponsored by the government has dropped sharply over the last 50 years. [National Defense]
  • Check out the four changes in the 2018 NDAA that contractors need to know about. [Federal News Radio]
  • With a great deal of uncertainty about the 2018 federal budget, Edge 360 takes a look at what October will hold for federal IT contractors. [Edge 360]

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Koprince Law LLC

I am wrapping up a great trip to Huntsville, Alabama, where I gave a presentation yesterday the Redstone Edge conference. As I make my way back home, it’s time for our weekly roundup of government contracting news and notes.

In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, fourth quarter spending is actually down this year, Congress takes aim at the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order, and much more.

  • The federal equivalent of Black Friday isn’t what it used to be: a new analysis of federal contracting data shows that Q4 spending is declining after years of elevated levels, with more agencies spending earlier in the year. [Government Executive]
  • Supporters of President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” order are now fighting a tough new obstacle–a Congressional proposal to severely curtail the order’s scope. [Forbes]
  • The Defense Department spending on research and development has suffered historic declines during the budget drawdown that has been in progress since 2009. [Federal News Radio]
  • The General Services Administration is trying to ease industry concerns about its new transactional data requirement. [Federal News Radio]
  • A VA Inspector General audit has discovered flaws in the way the VA awarded its major PC3 contracts. [VA OIG]

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Koprince Law LLC

Greetings from Omaha, where I’ve just wrapped up a great half-day training session sponsored by the Nebraska PTAC.  If you haven’t been to Omaha, you’re missing out: I’m enjoying exploring the Old Market District, and keep wondering when I’ll run into Warren Buffett.

Of course, I’m not about to let a little road trip get in the way of our weekly roundup of government contracts news. In this edition of the SmallGovCon Week In Review, we have an update on an SDVOSB fraud case that we have been following for awhile, a push to close loopholes in the Buy American Act, some promising changes for the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee program, and more.

  • After jurors became deadlocked, a retrial was scheduled in the case of an Arkansas businessman accused of falsely claiming to operate a SDVOSB. [Arkansas Online]
  • Senator Chris Murphy is pushing hard to change federal rules regarding the government buying products from American companies, trying to close loopholes in the Buy American Act.  [New Haven Register]
  • FEMA is seeking contractors to provide meals in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and will begin awarding contracts as soon as possible. [Markets Insider]
  • Congressman Will Hurd is one step closer to making his dream of overhauling federal government information technology procurement a reality. [San Antonio Business Journal]
  • The SBA is considering granting a request for a class waiver of the Nonmanufacturer Rule for Positive Airway Pressure Devices and Supplies Manufacturing. [Federal Register]
  • The SBA has finalized two important changes to its Surety Bond Guarantee Program that will increase contract opportunities for small construction contractors. [SBA]

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Koprince Law LLC

For many sports fans, it’s now football season, but I’m still focused on baseball, with my Chicago Cubs clinching the Central Division title last night.  There are still more regular season games to be played, but I’m looking forward to the start of the playoffs, where the Cubs will try to end a 108-year World Series drought.

Of course, baseball isn’t the only thing on my mind these days–especially this close to the end of the government’s fiscal year.  As always, I’ve been keeping a close eye on government contracting news.  This week, SmallGovCon Week In Review includes stories on the latest developments in the Alliant 2 procurement process, insightful commentary by Guy Timberlake on a terrible new proposal for small business goaling, a major bid protest filed by Delta Air Lines, and much more.

  • According to Deltek’s Angie Petty, the pending change in administrations seems unlikely to affect federal IT contract spending. [ExecutiveBiz]
  • At the end of the fiscal year, lots of companies get the good news: “you’ve won!” One commentator offers a list of five things to do after winning a federal contract. [Washington Technology]
  • Guy Timberlake hits back at a recent proposal to count subcontracting dollars toward the government’s 23% small business goal–a move Timberlake says would “put the screws to America’s small businesses.” He’s right.  [GovConChannel]
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office announced it will create a Center for Advanced Analytics to bring a more data-driven approach into its work. [govfresh]
  • Delta Air Lines is protesting a contract that it says undermines the “Fly America Act” that requires taxpayer-funded travel to take place on domestic carriers. [Reuters]
  • The General Services Administration is sprinting to launch four new categories of specialized cybersecurity offerings for agency purchase October 1 on the government’s largest IT services acquisition vehicle. [fedscoop]
  • Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Alliant 2 Small Business extended the due date again without the GSA giving a reason as to why. [Aronson Fed Point]
  • Contractors are urging the next President to mandate a change to improve the services acquisition process. [Government Executive]

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Koprince Law LLC

As we get closer to the end of the fiscal year, things can get a little crazy in the world of government contracts.  This week is no exception, with plenty of news and commentary in our SmallGovCon Week In Review.

In this mid-September edition, court documents reveal a bribery scheme centered on a former VA OSDBU official, the GSA has relaxed certain contracting rules to speed efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, the OFPP is planning a third in its series of highly-regarded “mythbusters” memos, and much more.

  • Newly released court documents have revealed an elaborate scheme with a former VA OSDBU official, who was accepting bribes for lucrative government contracts. [CBS Denver]
  • In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the GSA is relaxing certain contracting rules to encourage speed and local awards. [Government Executive]
  • Contractors are playing a major role in assisting with disaster relief in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. [Federal News Radio]
  • A former Department of Commerce official has found himself with a four year prison sentence and ordered to forfeit approximately a quarter of a million dollars for conspiracy to pay and receive bribes. [United States Department of Justice]
  • A contractor who was debarred from entering into contracts with the DoD in 2013, but continued to provide airplane parts to the government, has been sentenced to 26 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $420,000 in restitution. [United States Department of Justice]
  • 109 startup companies, venture capital firms and angel investors were interviewed to come up with a report titled “Why Startups Don’t Bid on Government Contracts.” [fedscoop]
  • The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is planning a third mythbusters memo as part of its continuing effort to improve communication around acquisition. [Federal News Radio]
  • The Senate will be voting on the 2018 NDAA soon, and Federal News Radio put together a list of four important amendments for contractors to watch. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

My heart rate has finally come down after the exciting finish to Game Five of the Cubs-Nationals playoff series last night.  I caught the first few innings waiting for my flight in Salt Lake City, and the game (which clocked in at more than 4 1/2 hours) was still going when I landed in Kansas City a couple hours later.  Thanks in part to the magic of instant replay, my Cubs were victorious, and will continue their World Series title defense against the Dodgers this weekend.

Clearly, my mind is on sports–but I’m also closely watching developments in government contracts.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, the GAO reminds agencies that they have the power to override the automatic stay, the SBA updates the WOSB/EDWOSB NAICS codes, a bill to improve the SBIR and STTR programs passes the House unanimously, and much more.

  • Can one contract change the way the government buys IT? How EIS will spur federal IT modernization. [FedTech]
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signed a memorandum of understanding to use the GSA’s OASIS vehicle. [fedscoop]
  • The government may soon buy based more on best value considerations, and less often using lowest price as its main, or sometimes only, focus. [Bloomberg Government]
  • An Ohio senator has asked the Treasury Department to review whether the Equifax breach could constitute grounds for debarment, which would prevent the company from winning or renewing contracts with the government. [Washington Examiner]
  • The GAO released a statement rebuking comments by the IRS, which had stated that it was forced award a bridge contract to Equifax during the course of a bid protest. The GAO noted that agencies have the power to override the automatic stay in appropriate circumstances. [Nextgov]
  • The SBA has updated the NAICS codes authorized for use in the WOSB program; the updates apply to all solicitations issued on or after October 1, 2017. [Federal Register]
  • Language in the 2018 NDAA would make it more difficult for companies to protest contract awards, particularly those made by defense and military agencies. [Nextgov]  (And click here for my take on why this is a really bad idea).
  • It was with unanimous support this week that H.R. 2763, The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvement Act of 2017, passed the House of Representatives. [scvtv]

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Koprince Law LLC

Wow!  After 108 years, my Chicago Cubs are the World Series champions!  I was in Minneapolis for this year’s National Veterans Small Business Engagement (which was an amazing event), and split my Game 7 viewing between the hotel bar and my room.  I wish I could have been at Wrigley Field, and I wish that my grandfather (who really started the family on the whole Cubs thing) could have been alive to see it.  But I am sure somewhere he is smiling along with all the other Cubs fans who couldn’t see this moment.

While my week consisted mostly of convention halls and Cubs, there was no shortage of news in the world of government contracting.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a company was able to continue contracting with the VA even after it was indicted and convicted of fraud, a new report indicates that WOSBs are still being shut out of opportunities to earn major government contracts, a look ahead to the election and what changes may lie for federal contractors, a contractor gave a high-ranking government official free living space–and didn’t violate the ethics rules–and much more.

  • A company was convicted of falsely claiming SDVOSB status in order to obtain more than $100 million in government contracts–and the company continued to receive VA contract money even after it was convictred. [CBS Boston]
  • A new report released by Women Impacting Public Policy shows that women owned small businesses are still being shut out of major government contracts. [Forbes]
  • With the November 8 election just a few days away, a new report by data and analytics firm Govini shows how the outcome of highly-contested races in five key battleground states may affect federal spending in those states. [Government Executive]
  • A victory in the federal courts for California software company Palantir is either a win for just one company or a much broader decision that will impact how the government buys commercial technology. [Washington Technology]
  • The Pentagon’s gift rules allowed an Army National Guard General to accept rent-free living space from a defense contractor because the contractor is a personal friend. [Government Executive]
  • Contractors, take note: the Office of Government Ethics has published a final rule overhauling the ethics rules for executive branch employees. [Federal News Radio]
  • A government contracts consulting firm identifies 20 key opportunities–including many major recompetes–on the horizon in 2017. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

Although the temperatures outside may be dropping, things are heating up in the contracting world. Now one month into the 2018 federal fiscal year, agencies have new budgets and there is a lot money to be spent. We will keep a close eye on awards, regulation changes, and related issues to federal contracting all year long, right here on SmallGovCon.

Let’s get the weekend started off by recapping the latest federal contracting news. In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we look at the potential for a DUNS replacement, a three-year prison sentence for accepting kickbacks in exchange for contracts, awards for GSA’s $5 billion VETS 2 IT services vehicle, and much more.

  • Defense contractors have two months to comply with one of the most complicated Pentagon regulations to hit their desks in years. [Bloomberg Government]
  • The General Services Administration is considering a potential replacement to DUNS, and has asked for feedback. [FCW]
  • GSA announced awards to 70 SDVOSBs under its Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) Government-wide Acquisition Contract. [GSAWashington Technology]
  • GSA also released three requests for information under its Federal Acquisition Service. [Federal News Radio]
  • Ongoing efforts to modernize federal IT are starting to bear fruit, but several questions remain. [fedscoop]
  • Will a plan to charge $350 for each protest filing stop frivolous protests? [Federal News Radio]
  • South Carolina contractor sentenced to two years in prison after unlawfully obtaining more than 100 contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. [The State]
  • More bad behavior: a former employee at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point was sentenced to three years in prison after receiving over $150,000 in kickbacks . [Newsday]
  • Still more trouble: an FDA supervisor and contractor have been charged with bribery and conspiracy relating to a kickback scheme dating nearly six years. [United States Department of Justice]

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Koprince Law LLC

While we are diving into fall weather here in Kansas, my colleagues and I are thinking of everyone on the East Coast dealing with Hurricane Matthew.  We hope that everyone makes it through the storm safe and sound.

Hurricane Matthew is at the top of the news headlines this week, but there’s still plenty happening in the world of government contracting.  In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we bring you articles final FAR rule restricting awards to companies with unpaid tax liabilities, two separate cases regarding alleged discrimination by government contractors, a new beta version of a Freedom of Information Act Wiki was launched, a major expansion of the HUBZone program, and much more.

  • The FAR Council has adopted, without changes, an interim rule I reported on last year, which restricts most contract awards to companies with unpaid federal tax obligations. [Government Publishing Office]
  • The United States Department of Labor is suing a Silicon Valley firm, which handles $340 million of federal contracts, for allegedly discriminating against Asian job applicants. [Parent Herald]
  • Using a category management approach to optimize spending, the GSA’s Human Capital and Training Solutions Unrestricted contract is intended to increase access to 77 qualified vendors offering, efficient, cost-effective management and training support. [Federal Times]
  • The Small Business Administration is correcting a final rule that described the limitations on subcontracting that apply to set aside contracts. [Federal Register]
  • A Freedom of Information Act Wiki was launched that acts as a free and collaborative resource and allows a rapid account of new developments so everyone has the most up-to-date information about the law in a useful, online format. [CJR]
  • A global technology manufacturing company has been sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for compensation discrimination against female assembly workers who were found to be making less than their male counterparts. [The Salem News]
  • President Obama is being urged to issue a directive against anti-gay bias in federal contracting. [The Washington Post]
  • Oracle’s decision to abandon the GSA Schedules as a channel to sell its products might just be the tip of the iceberg of problems in the government market. [Washington Technology]
  • A new report shows that women-owned firms are 21 percent less likely to win government contracts. [Biz Journals]
  • In an important change that’s flown beneath the radar, the SBA removed what it said was an unnecessary requirement in the HUBZone program, allowing for a major expansion of the program. [Set-Aside Alert]

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The curse is broken!  For the first time in 71 years, my Chicago Cubs will play a World Series game in Wrigley Field tonight.  While I wish I could be in Wrigley to cheer them on, the ticket prices are being called “record breaking,” and not in a good way.  So I’ll be watching with my family from the comfort of my couch right here in Kansas–which, if nothing else, will offer the advantage of a better dinner than the ballpark (I’ll take chicken smoked on the Big Green Egg over a ballpark hot dog any day).

But before I head home to watch the first pitch, it’s time for our weekly dose of government contracting news and notes.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a judge has blocked implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, Guy Timberlake sounds the alarm about proposed changes to small business goaling, a group of contract employees have gone on strike in protest of alleged legal violations, and much more.

  • A federal court in Texas has halted enforcement of new rules requiring many U.S. government contractors to disclose labor law violations, including workplace safety violations, when bidding for contracts. [POLITICO]
  • The GSA has introduced new initiatives to better engage small and innovative companies that aren’t traditionally government contractors. [fedscoop]
  • Our friend Guy Timberlake takes a look at what would happen if, all of a sudden, agencies didn’t have to work so hard to meet or exceed their small business goals. [GovConChannel]=
  • The team at the Office of Management and Budget have been thinking creatively on how to deal with unsolicited proposals and generate the best ways to approach the federal IT procurement process. [fedscoop]
  • Fed up truck drivers and warehouse workers employed by federal contractors are striking for 48 hours to draw attention to alleged wage theft and other violations. [workdayMinnesota]
  • Washington Technology lays out four things you need to know about new the contractor requirements for classified networks. [Washington Technology]

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After a 30-degree shift in temperatures here in Lawrence overnight, I think it is safe to say fall has officially arrived. The kids and I will be adding some extra layers while we go trick-or-treating on Tuesday evening.

Candy is on the agenda next week, but today’s treat is the latest SmallGovCon Week in Review. In this edition, the SBA will soon issue a proposed rule to implement a mandatory WOSB certification, a provision in the NDAA would shorten the GAO’s time frame for resolving DoD protests, a business owner will spend 20 months in prison for GSA Schedule fraud, and much more.

  • Bye-bye, WOSB self-certification: the SBA says it is 30-60 days away from issuing a proposed rule to implement mandatory WOSB certification. [Federal News Radio]
  • A provision in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act would force the GAO to resolve Defense Department related bid protests within 65 days instead of the current 100 day time frame, but could this plan backfire? [Nextgov]
  • A business owner will spend 20 months in prison and pay more than $1 million in restitution as part of a plea deal in a GSA Schedule fraud case. [United States Department Of Justice]
  • Have you worked with your PTAC yet?  If you’re not aware of the free resources that PTAC counselors provide for government contractors, this video provides a great overview. [YouTube]
  • Federal Times takes a look at three ways to help subcontractors receive their share of a winning bid. [Federal Times]
  • Category management “shrinks the playing field of [small business] competitors that are out there,” according to a top SBA official.[Federal Times]
  • A Florida man is facing federal bribery and wire fraud charges in connection with a kickback conspiracy for federal defense contracts. [News4JAX]
  • The slow nature of Department of Defense acquisition makes it difficult to keep up with cybersecurity defense. [Federal News Radio]
  • The GAO put the brakes on a $238 million contract for the Census Bureau’s 2020 mobility operations, sustaining a bid protest filed by AT&T. [fedscoop]
  • The SBA Inspector General says that agencies shouldn’t be able to claim 8(a) and HUBZone credit for firms that have left those programs. [SBA Office of Inspector General]
  • The GSA is looking for a new way to classify contractors and grant and loan recipients. Is Dun & Bradstreet on its way out? [fedscoop]
  • A massive $2.4 billion classified NSA contract is under protest by one of the losing bidders. [Nextgov]
  • A coalition of moderate House Democrats wants to expand a governmentwide security certification process for cloud computing to all types of government information technology. [Nextgov]

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The baseball playoffs are back, and tonight I’ll be watching my Cubs begin their quest for back-to-back titles.  (If you’re not a lifelong Cubs fan, you may not realize how strange it feels to write that previous sentence).

Before the games begin, it’s time for our weekly dose of government contracting news.  In this week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, the DOJ charges four men with participating in a bribery and kickback conspiracy, the GAO publishes a report finding that many contracts weren’t closed on time, a court reverses a contractor’s debarment, and more.

  • You don’t see this every day: four men are charged in a bribery and kickback conspiracy scheme–involving a DoD Office of Inspector General contract.  If true, that’s pretty brazen.  [U.S. Department of Justice]
  • The SBA has adopted the 2017 NAICS code revision as the basis of its small business size standards. [Federal Register]
  • The GAO published a report showing that contracts were not closed on time at several agencies. [U.S. Government Accountability Office]
  • A federal court ruled the GSA unfairly debarred a government contractor because GSA did not give the contractor notice of all grounds prior to the agency’s final debarment determination. [Federal News Radio]
  • Several defendants in a New York SDVOSB False Claims Act case have agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that they improperly obtained SDVOSB contracts. [U.S. Department of Justice]
  • A retired Army colonel whose business company reportedly was used to commit bribery to obtain more than $20 million in government contracts has been charged with conspiracy. [The Augusta Chronicle]
  • A new website consolidates federal Inspector General reports in one place. [Oversight.gov]
  • Reverse auction provider FedBid has been acquired but will continue to operate under its own brand. [Compusearch]

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It is KU’s homecoming weekend here in Lawrence.  I’m planning to catch KU’s homecoming parade with the family tonight, and then cheer KU onto football victory tomorrow against Oklahoma State (ok, that last part may be wishful thinking).

Of course, before we all head out to enjoy an autumn weekend, it’s time to get caught up on the latest in federal government contracting news.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a former State Department employee will spend four years in prison for helping steer contracts to his son’s company, the IRS awards contracts to contractors owing back taxes, one commentator sounds a well-worn (and in my view, essentially incorrect) alarm about bid protests, and much more.

  • A former State Department employee has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for helping to steer $2 million in government contracts to a company half owned by his son. [KOIN 6]
  • Many federal agencies-including the IRS itself–are awarding contracts to contractors owing back taxes. [U.S. News]
  • The FedRAMP overhaul is beginning to pay dividends. [Federal News Radio]
  • The debate over the scope of the False Claims Act continues, with recent cases focusing on what happens if the government knew about a contractor’s noncompliance but paid anyway. [Bloomberg BNA]
  • One commentator offers a well-worn “sky is falling” argument regarding bid protests, which includes cherry-picking statistics (like focusing on GAO’s relatively low sustain rate instead of the actual protest success rate) in an effort to make a case against the protest process. (My take: protests are relatively rare, and succeed nearly half the time.  Improvements are always possible, but overall the system is working.  Please stop whining). [NextGov]
  • A new DFARS regulation clarifies which kinds of unclassified information contractors need to protect under DoD’s new cyber incident reporting requirement. [Federal Register]
  • Speaking of the DFARS, a final rule has been issued regarding the mandatory display of hotline posters. [Federal Register]

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My Cubs couldn’t pull off the World Series repeat, losing badly to the Dodgers last night in the National League Championship Series.  And you know what?  I’m okay with it.  We Cubs fans are a different breed: after 108 years, many of us  thought we’d never see a title.  So after the amazing championship last year, all of 2017 felt like playing with house money.  Yankees fans might be grumbling that it’s been a whopping eight years since their last title, but Cubs fans like me will always have 2016.

Enough baseball–time to move on to what’s really important on your Friday, the SmallGovCon Week In Review!  This week, we bring you articles ranging from government employees taking illegal gratuities, a sharp decrease in the number of successful small business contractors, investigators find major problems with many of the Census Bureau’s sole source contracts, and more.

  • A 40-month prison sentence was handed down to the former comptroller of the Norfolk Ship Support Activity for conspiring with others to essentially force a government prime contractor to use a specified subcontractor. [United States Department of Justice]
  • Federal agencies met the governmentwide small business goal for the fourth straight year in fiscal 2016, but the number of small  business prime contractors has gone down by 25% since 2010. [Federal News Radio]
  • After helping to steer millions of dollars in contracts to a North Carolina defense contractor, a former employee of the Navy has now been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for his role in the scheme. [The Virginia Pilot]
  • Listen to Larry Allen on Federal Drive with Tom Temin as he discusses what GSA has in store for contractors this year. [Federal News Radio]
  • A whistleblower suit has led to a False Claims Act settlement of $2.6 million to resolve civil allegations that the company submitted false claims for payment to the DoD for unqualified security guards. [wtop]
  • Government investigators found problems with 90% of the no-bid contracts awarded by the Census Bureau, resulting in overpayment to contractors by about $9 million. [New York Post]
  • Congressional members have submitted a request for information on data security vetting for government contracts. [Homeland Preparedness News]
  • GSA Administrator nominee Emily Murphy wants the GSA to make it easier for new companies to do business with the government so competition remains robust. [Federal News Radio]
  • The Indian Health Service agency has come under fire for awarding a contract to a company that had previously paid $10 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to the government. [Bristol Herald Courier]

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