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SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 26-30, 2016

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 25-29, 2017

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 19-23, 2016

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 18-22, 2017

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 12-16, 2016

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 11-15, 2017

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 9-13, 2017

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 31-November 4, 2016

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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 30-November 3, 2017

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. [GSA; Washington 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

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 3-7, 2016

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 24-28, 2016

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 23-27, 2017

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 2-6, 2017

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 17-21, 2016

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 16-20, 2017

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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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 10-14, 2016

It’s mid-October, and my Chicago Cubs are still playing.  After a thrilling comeback win over the Giants, the Cubs will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers starting tomorrow in the National League Championship Series.  Will this be the year that the Cubs break the Billy Goat Curse and allow their fans to think about The Simpsons instead of the 2003 playoffs when they hear the word “Bartman”? Time will tell.  But as the baseball playoffs move forward, I’m keeping my eyes on government contracting news–and there’s plenty of it this week.  In the latest SmallGovCon Week In Review,  a large trade group has filed a lawsuit to block the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, GSA updates its Dun & Bradstreet contract, Guy Timberlake addresses the potential effects of the 2017 NDAA, and much more. A large construction trade group has filed a lawsuit to block the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule. [The Wall Street Journal] The Air Force awarded the largest contract during the 2016 fiscal year, thanks to a $30 million agreement with Agile Defense. [Washington Technology] A draft proposal, Implementing Category Management for Common Goods and Services, was published last week in the Federal Register and is now open for public comment. [FCW] The General Services Administration has updated its Dun & Bradstreet contract, which will allow agency acquisition personnel and contractors wider latitude to use the standardized company information for purposes beyond mere identification. [Government Executive] An ex-NASA official has pleaded guilty to making false statements about self-interested interactions with contractors according to the Justice Department. [Government Executive] Bloomberg Government takes a look at five trends shaping federal contracts in fiscal 2017 [Bloomberg Government] With about four months before the end of the Obama administration, the push to recognize, even celebrate, and institutionalize its management agenda is coming fast and furious. [Federal News Radio] Guy Timberlake digs into the proposed changes being considered in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and how small businesses will be affected. [GovConChannel]
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Koprince Law LLC

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: November 7-11, 2016

It’s been quite the week!  We began with a Presidential election to remember and are ending the week with a celebration of the veterans who have served our country.  On behalf of the entire team here at Koprince Law LLC, thank you to the many veterans who read SmallGovCon.  Your sacrifice and dedication to our country is truly a debt that can never be repaid. Election coverage dominated the headlines this week, but there was  no shortage of government contracts news.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, the DoD has changed its policy on independent research and development, Washington Technology takes a first look at what the Trump Administration will mean for federal contractors, the Court of Federal Claims is hearing a case that could decide whether the Kingdomware decision applies to AbilityOne procurements, and much more. Does the Kingdomware case apply to AbilityOne procurements?  That question may be resolved in a case pending at the Court of Federal Claims. [Winston-Salem Journal] The Federal Acquisition Service undertook a strategic organizational realignment of the workforce and processes which has a goal for the government to act as one – but will also improve organizational efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of acquisition solutions and services.  [Federal News Radio] The Defense Department changed its policy on independent research and development last week, requiring companies to consult with the Pentagon about research done party on the government’s dime. [Federal News Radio] Washington Technology takes an early look at what a Trump presidency looks like for federal contractors. [Washington Technology] The GAO upheld the protest of an incumbent vendor who lost a contract award in a case that points to the high level of complexity involved in IT and government contracting. [FCW]
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SmallGovCon Week in Review: November 6-10, 2017

Happy Veterans Day to all our SmallGovCon readers. We hope that you will take some time today and tomorrow to honor the strength, loyalty and commitment that our brave veterans dedicated to this country. Veterans, we are deeply grateful for your service. This edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review brings a look at six large companies with a high reliance on government contracts, the “Amazon Amendment” and how Amazon is looking to expand it’s operations through government procurement, the removal of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, tips for WOSBs to succeed in the federal marketplace, and much more. In a $3.7 trillion federal government budget, there are going to be a lot of companies doing well–here are the top six. [The Motley Fool] Forbes offers tips for female business owners who are frustrated by the lack of opportunities and showcases the huge opportunity for women to get a piece of the set-aside contracts for women-owned businesses. [Forbes] Amazon has an opportunity to dramatically expand its hold on the logistics space as it tries to capture $53 billion in defense procurement. [Freight Waves] An alleged kickback and bribery scheme that went on for six years before being discovered has led to a Government contracting officer and his contractor facing a heap of trouble. [PNWC’s Government Contracting Update] Federal contractors will not face requirements aimed at protecting employees from wage and unsafe working conditions under rule the Trump administration finalized on Monday. [Government Executive] Effective November 6, 2017, the FAR Council finalized a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation for the removal of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces requirements. [Federal Register] At least 125 companies were discovered to owe the federal government a total of $40,633,951 in unpaid taxes while still receiving federal contract awards totaling more than $134 million. [Live 5 News] A jury deadlocked in a case against two men accused of SDVOSB fraud. [Arkansas Online] An elaborate scheme between a former Army official and a contractor has led to an 18 month sentence and forfeiture of over a quarter of a million dollars. [Department of Justice] A look at what did, and did not, make it through the conference version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. [Nextgov]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: November 14-18, 2016

The year is flying by.  Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is next week.  While my colleagues and I prepare to overdose on turkey and stuffing (and my personal Thanksgiving favorite–copious amounts of pie), our focus today is on the top stories that made government contracting headlines this week. In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, all nine bid protests filed against the TRICARE award were denied, the FAR Council proposes a rule to clarify how Contracting Officers are to award 8(a) sole source contracts in excess of $22 million, Set-Aside ALERT offers an in depth look at HUBZone set-asides in 2016, the Obama Administration’s government contracting Executive Orders may be reversed by President-Elect Trump, and much more. All nine bid protests filed by health insurers who came out on the losing end of the Defense Department’s TRICARE awards have been denied. [Federal News Radio] The General Services Administration will launch a cloud-based shared service contract-writing system that will offer federal agencies a turnkey, comprehensive contract writing and administrative solution beginning next year. [Nextgov] The FAR Council has issued a proposed rule to clarify the guidance for sole-source 8(a) contract awards exceeding $22 million. [Federal Register] Writing in Bloomberg Government, Tom Skypek offers four steps on how to turn around a failing contract. [Bloomberg Government] As 2016 draws to a close, Set-Aside ALERT provides an in-depth look at where things stand with the SBA’s HUBZone program. [Set-Aside ALERT] Federal IT executives and industry experts say between the election, expected slow or non-existent budget growth and uncertainty in leadership, most of the change will happen below the surface. [Federal News Radio] According to one commentator, Donald Trump’s election is likely to provide federal contractors with one of the biggest items on their wish list: the reversal of most if not all of the Executive Orders President Barack Obama has directed at them over the past eight years. [Bloomberg BNA] Federal CIOs are asking Congress for the authority to stop major IT procurements if they have concerns about cyber security. [fedscoop] The VA has issued a solicitation notice for a 10 year, $25 billion, professional services contract known as VECTOR, which will be set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. [Bloomberg Government]
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SmallGovCon Week in Review: November 13-17, 2017

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving, which means if you haven’t gone shopping yet, you may be facing the chaos of the grocery stores this weekend in preparation. Or, perhaps, you’re skipping the extensive meal preparation and going for something very simple (as a college student in North Carolina, I once classed it up by having Bojangles for Thanksgiving. Fantastic sweet tea, special seasoning, and no dishes!) Even around the holidays, the world of government contracting doesn’t slow down that much. In this pre-Thanksgiving edition of SmallGovCon Week in Review, we take a look at two men facing five years in prison for fraudulently obtaining $20 million in contracts at Fort Gordon, the 2018 NDAA’s effect on GAO bid protests, new legislation intended to give equal consideration to VOSBs for contract awards, and much more. Two people admitted their involvement in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain $20 million in contracts at Fort Gordon. [The Augusta Chronicle] Two trucking companies found guilty of Service Contract Act violations are still working at America’s largest ports. [USA Today] The 2018 National Defense Authorization bill includes a compromise on disputed language aimed at reducing the number of bid protests. [Government Executive] (See my take on the issue here). Government sources say OFPP wants agencies to set goals for using “best-in-class contracts” and implement demand management by analyzing procurement data and making decisions on how and who to buy from. [Federal News Radio] U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick introduced legislation aimed at giving veteran-owned small businesses equal consideration for contract awards that companies in other ownership-preference categories currently enjoy as part of various set-aside programs. [The Ripon Advance] A former procurement officer employed at a nuclear research and development facility of the U.S. Department of Energy was indicted for orchestrating a scheme to obtain a $2.3 million contract through fraudulent means. [U.S. Dept. of Justice] The American Small Business League has argued that large federal contractors mislead agencies and the public by overstating their use of small businesses as subcontractors to meet statutory goals. In U.S. District Court in San Francisco last Friday, attorneys for the advocacy group successfully pried out the previously non-public names of suppliers and other subcontractors used by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. [Government Executive]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 8-12, 2017

I have food memories of the 1990s–my Duke Blue Devils won back-to-back titles, it was the heyday of Seinfeld, and Furbies were all the rage.  (Ok, Furbies aren’t exactly a fond memory for much of anyone).  But somehow, despite soaking up all kinds of ’90s culture, I missed out on one of the biggest live acts of the decade: Garth Brooks.  But better late than never.  Tomorrow night, I’ll catch the 2017 version of Brooks’ country crooning–part of seven shows he is playing over the course of just two weekends in Kansas City (yep, KC loves some Garth). Before I go enjoy a country music time warp–followed by a Mother’s Day celebration–it’s time for some government contracting news.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, a former USACE program manager is accused of bid rigging, the GSA is working on translating President Trump’s priorities into acquisition policy, and more. A former program manager for the Army Corps of Engineers in Nebraska is accused of rigging bids on nine contracts in exchange for about $33,000 worth of bribes. [The Oregonian] The GSA starts translating President Trumps priorities into acquisition policy. [Federal News Radio] A longtime DoD contractor in Afghanistan reflects on some lessons learned. [GovExec] A contractor who worked on the Navy’s supply and transport arm is facing a five-count indictment for his alleged role in a bribery scheme that allegedly netted him $3 million. [Federal Times] The SBA will start adoption of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act but the CFO and Associate Administrator don’t have much faith in the new law. [Federal News Radio] Agencies “embrace of FedRAMP is still uneven,” a new report concludes. [FCW] More bad behavior: a former Army contractor pleads guilty to a bribery scheme involving contracts at Aberdeen Proving Ground. [Department of Justice]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 30 – June 3, 2016

June seems to have crept up on us, but here we sit enjoying warm temperatures and sunshine. Hopefully you are making plans for some summer rest and relaxation. While you kick back this weekend by the pool, we are happy to bring to you some weekend reading material in this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review.  This week’s top governing contracting stories include an inquiry on DoD Buy American Act waivers, the continued push to “dump the DUNS,”  False Claims Act allegations regarding pricing, a construction company settles a SDB fraud claim for $5.4 million, and more. NASA has proposed a new rule that would require vendors to make their company’s greenhouse emissions data available through the Systems for Award Management. [FCW] Over the past 10 years the U.S. DoD has granted more than 300,000 lawful waivers to the Buy American Act and while some of the exceptions make sense, many of them do not. [Journal Inquirer] The summer of 2016 will be known from this point forward as “the summer of the billion dollar IT contract” with 26 protests of an $11.5 billion training contract. [Federal News Radio] Back in 2012 the GAO said that the costs and technical challenges of moving away from the DUNS to another system for identifying and tracking contractors would simply be too great.  One industry group says that, four years, later the time is ripe to dump the DUNS. [Federal News Radio] One of the largest federal consulting practices has agreed to settle a False Claims Act brought by the General Services Administration for allegations the vendor failed to lower prices on its IT services contracts. [Federal Times] The Department of Energy is examining what it would take to overhaul the IT behind its business operations, possibly resulting in a contract that could be worth up to $850 million. [fedscoop] The charges against a former Hayner Hoyt employee have been dismissed after alleging the company had fired him for refusing to go along with a scheme to defraud a government program that provided contracts to small business owned by disabled veterans. [Syracuse.com] Federal Times offers seven highlights form the General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General semiannual report. [Federal Times] Allegations that Harper Construction, Inc., knowingly used sham small disadvantaged businesses and then falsely certified to the government that it used legitimate small disadvantaged businesses has led to the company paying $5.4 million to the United States. [Oceanside Camp Pendleton Patch] Washington Technology takes a look at the 100 largest government contractors over the past two decades to determine the changing government market over the years and where 2016 is heading. [Washington Technology]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 29 – June 2, 2017

June is here which means we are nearing the official start of summer–and it already feels like summer here in Lawrence with temperatures in the mid-80s. Before I head off to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine it’s time for our weekly look at the latest and greatest in government contracting. In this edition of the SmallGovCon Week In Review, a food contractor has agreed to pay a whopping $95 million as part of a major procurement fraud settlement, the GSA Inspector General issues a semi-annual report offering some lessons for contractors, Guy Timberlake kicks off a new series over at the GovConChannel with an article about the five fatal flaws killing proposal efforts, and much more. A food contractor for the U.S. forces in Iraq has agreed to pay $95 million and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge to settle criminal and whistle-blower claims pending in federal court. [myAJC] The new SBA Administrator is bringing some of her lessons learned around the ring to her leadership role at a time when other federal agencies are looking to duck and cover amid a government reorganization. [Federal News Radio] The “Section 809 Panel” is seeking to provide lawmakers with a set of recommendations for legislative or administrative redress that will help improve the speed and performance of the defense acquisition system. [Government Executive] A new series from our friends over at GovConChannel discusses the 5 fatal flaws killing GovCon proposal efforts. [GovConChannel] A New Jersey company will pay $245,000 in back wages and will be prohibited from bidding on government contracts for three years, as part of the resolution of a Service Contract Act case. [New Jersey Herald] The Homeland Security Department has cancelled its $1.5 billion contract vehicle for agile development services. [Federal News Radio] A report from the GSA reviewing its investigations and reports was released which found that 21 contractors didn’t submit accurate and complete information among other things. [Washington Technology]
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SmallGovCon Week in Review: May 28 – June 1, 2018

This week, I had the great opportunity to join Guy Timberlake in Minneapolis to discuss the impacts of the 2018 NDAA on small businesses. It was a wonderful event (made all the better by the fabulous participants and presenters). Minneapolis was fun, but it’s nice to be home. Hopefully you’re gearing up for a lovely weekend (perhaps with a little bit of pool time reserved). Before you punch out completely, let’s check out the latest in the world of government contracting. In this week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, we take a look at Washington Technology’s new podcast focused on the future of government contracting, a lawsuit in which a contractor allegedly falsely overcharged the U.S. Navy for ship husbanding services, and more. Enjoy, and we’ll see you back here next week! Washington Technology launches “Project 38,” a podcast that discusses the future of government contracting [Washington Technology] The General Services Administration wants to make it easier for federal and state agencies to quickly acquire a broader array of cybersecurity services [Nextgov] United States settles lawsuit alleging that a contractor falsely overcharged the U.S. Navy for ship husbanding services [U.S. Department of Justice] An audit of two Army Contracting Command centers in Redstone, Alabama, and Warren, Michigan, revealed The Department of Defense must increase its efforts in order to meet small business subcontracting goals [Small Business Trends] A civilian employee at Picatinny Arsenal admitted his role in a scheme that traded bribes and other gratuities for favorable treatment on government contracts [TAPinto.net]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 22-26, 2017

Memorial Day weekend is almost here, which means the unofficial start to summer! Whether you are hitting the beach or relaxing at home (my plans include BBQ ribs and chicken wings courtesy of the family Big Green Egg), I hope you have an enjoyable long weekend while remembering those that have given their lives to protect our country. Of course, a relaxing weekend isn’t complete without some good reading material, and we’ve got you covered.  In the final May edition of the SmallGovCon Week In Review, a contracting fraud scheme results in jail time, a bipartisan new bill would help small contractors receive prompt payment for change orders, a survey shows rising confidence among government contractors, and much more. A new report looks to assess the competitive landscape for major federal services contracts over $50 million. [FederalTimes] Cautious optimism is surrounding a bill that would require the Defense Department to use marketplaces like Amazon to buy commercial goods. [Federal News Radio] An interim report from the little-known but important Section 809 Panel has been released, reviewing acquisition regulations and making recommendations for the amendment or repeal of many rules. [Section 809 Panel] An eight-month sentence was handed down to a former Navy civilian employee and construction supervisor for false claims related to government contracts and theft. [Times of San Diego] Government contracts guru (and friend of the blog) Guy Timberlake takes a look at the government’s FY 2016 small business report card, and concludes that the government isn’t that good at math. [GovConChannel] A survey of 424 companies that sell to federal, state, local and educational agencies shows that government contractors overall, have increased confidence in 2017-2018 sales growth. [FederalTimes] Proposed cuts totaling $1.4 trillion would include shrinking the federal workforce and cutting spending at non-defense agencies. [Government Executive] When the Office of Federal Procurement Policy met with vendors, they pulled together the 10 misconceptions they heard most frequently and gathered them in a myth-busting memo. A few years later, some of those myths remain pervasive. [FederalSmallBizSavvy.com] House Small Business Committee Member Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced a new bill to ensure that small business federal contractors get paid in a timely manner for change orders. [Small Business Committee]
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