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Koprince Law LLC

It is inauguration day, and we are beginning a new chapter in America’s history. We’re expecting lots of government contracting changes in short order (beginning with repeals of some of the Obama Administration’s Executive Orders), so check in with us here on SmallGovCon regularly for updates.

As we honor our nation’s unparalleled tradition of peaceful transitions of power, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, two commentators weigh in on the GAO’s denial of four protests of the major Alliant 2 GWAC, two major corporations are facing potential debarment stemming from alleged discrimination, Set-Aside Alert discusses how the new Trump Administration will affect small contractors, and much more.

  • One commentator says that the GAO’s decision to deny four protests of GSA’s Alliant 2 GWAC could end up being a landmark ruling on lowest-price, technically acceptable contracts for services. [Federal News Radio]
  • More Alliant 2: another commentator says the GAO’s decisions have ramifications beyond a potential $65 billion worth of IT services that it could bring to the federal government over the next 10 years. [Nextgov]
  • Many small federal vendors are hopeful about the possibility of greater opportunities in defense procurement, and possibly fewer regulations to follow as a federal contractor. [Set-Aside Alert]
  • Debarment from government contracting could be at stake for Oracle over an employee pay discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor. [ZDNet]
  • President Obama’s Executive Orders dealing with contractor work forces could face reversal now that Donald Trump is President. [Stars and Stripes]
  • In a lengthy report, the GAO concludes that DoD needs clearer guidance when it comes to privately financed construction projects. [GAO]

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Koprince Law LLC

If you have been reading our blog recently, you may be aware that this is the 999th SmallGovCon post. My colleagues and I are excited to reach the 1,000-post milestone next week. To celebrate SmallGovCon‘s first 1,000 posts, we’re offering one lucky reader a chance to win a free one-hour custom webinar with me on the government contracting legal topic of your choice. All that you need to do is tell us why you read the blog and you will be entered–you don’t need to be a Koprince Law client or even a Chicago Cubs fan (although if you are both, I commend you for your exceptional choices).

Keep an eye out for SmallGovCon Post #1,000 early next week.  In the meantime, it’s time for the weekly SmallGovCon Week In Review.  This week’s articles include White House guidance on the new Executive Order governing agency regulations, a Minnesota man heads to the pokey after being convicted of contract fraud, the GSA seeks to calm apprehensions related to its new Transactional Data Reporting rule, and more.

  • The VA Inspector General has released a report about how the agency “blew $5 million on a botched cloud broker program,” and the report offers some important lessons for acquisition officials. [Nextgov]
  • A Minnesota businessman was sentenced to seven years in prison for fraudulently obtaining at least $3 million in government construction contracts–which he used to buy a Corvette, Jaguar, and other high-end toys. [StarTribune]
  • An anticipated wave of expiring contracts at the Department of Health and Human Services could free up billions for reprogramming. [FCW]
  • The White House released a memorandum giving guidance on how to implement the Executive Order that is requiring two regulations to be repealed before implementing one new one. [The White House]
  • The General Services Administration sought to calm apprehensions related to its Transactional Data Reporting rule by hosing a roundtable to outline the benefits of the acquisition rule–but some industry stakeholders remain skeptical. [FederalTimes]
  • Despite inaction by Congress on appropriations, the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency continues to award billions of dollars in government contracts. [Bloomberg Government]
  • Most fraudulent contractors steal money, but according to a federal grand jury, one contractor stole government secrets for more than 20 years. [FCW]

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Koprince Law LLC

March has arrived, and March Madness will be here soon. With the Kansas Jayhawks looking like a top seed and my Duke Blue Devils sitting at Number 14 in the Coaches Poll, I’m hoping to be watching my teams a lot this month.

While we await conference tournaments and Selection Sunday, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review.  This week’s edition is packed with the latest developments in government contracting, including guilty pleas from seven defendants accused of contract fraud, questions about the Trump administration’s position on category management, the Federal Times takes a look at which agencies will have the most follow-on work up for grabs in 2017, and much more.

  • A recent report from Onvia predicts several factors will continue to drive growth in government spending including President Trump’s proposed $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure initiative. [Federal Times]
  • Linda McMahon is committed to keeping the SBA intact but will be taking a hard look at the loan programs it offers. [Forbes]
  • Could total acquisition cost be the missing link in measuring, assessing, and ultimately, reforming the procurement system to deliver best value mission support for customer agencies and the American people? [Federal News Radio]
  • An Air Force Master Sergeant has been sentenced to 23 months in prison and $126,300 in restitution after accepting a kickback in exchange for a contract award. [United States Department of Justice]
  • The Departments of Education, State and the Army are among those with the most documented bids for contracts expiring in 2017, providing industry with actionable insight on just how competitive the procurement process will be. [Federal Times]
  • Without knowing whether the Trump administration will support category management, the federal government continues to use its immense buying power to drive down acquisition costs. [Nextgov]
  • The Office of Personnel Management’s National Background Investigations Bureau is almost five months old and is already embroiled in its first bid protest. [Federal News Radio]
  • Seven defendants have pleaded guilty to obtaining money from the United States by making false representations and false claims to the Department of Defense for payment on items that were substituted with unauthorized products. [United States Department of Justice]
  • Even though a  North Carolina-based defense contractor defrauded the U.S. government of more than $13.6 million dollars over the course of a decade, the government continues to do business with it. [The Virginian-Pilot]

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Koprince Law LLC

It’s hard to believe, but this is already the last SmallGovCon Week In Review of February 2017. The year seems to be flying by, and there’s never a shortage of government contracting news. This week is no exception.

In this edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, one commentator suggests that the Trump administration revive an old contracting practice, a Pennsylvania man faces up to 10 years in prison after admitting to paying bribes and kickbacks on federal construction projects, government contracting gurus Guy Timberlake and Mark Amtower offer some candid commentary on the industry, and much more.

  • Could an old contracting approach be just what the Trump administration needs? [Government Executive]
  • The DOE has published an updated Acquisition Guide on its Management and Operating contracts. [United States Department of Energy]
  • The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program unveiled the first draft of another tool it will add to its kit: a way to more efficiently authorize low-risk cloud services. [fedscoop]
  • Unlawful bribes and kickbacks have one construction company operator in hot water: he could face 10 years  in prison and and maximum fine of $250,000. [United States Department of Justice]
  • A former OPM and NSA contractor has been sentenced to pay $70,000 in restitution and perform 360 hours of community service for falsifying his time sheets while working at the agencies. [United States Department of Justice]
  • Guy Timberlake has some advice on the importance of knowing your stuff when it comes to procurement data and the federal contracting process. [GovConChannel]
  • Mark Amtower offers some tips on getting government buyers and influencers to notice you during the bidding process. [Washington Technology]

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Koprince Law LLC

Spring seems to have sprung here in Lawrence, even though the calendar still says February. These past few days we have been treated to 70+ degree weather. For me, the early spring temps have meant playing outside with the kids and, well, blogging about government contracts here inside the office, but with the window open.

Speaking of government contracts blogging, it’s time for our weekly look at the latest government contracting news and notes. In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, Congress is likely to repeal former President Obama’s “blacklisting” rule, Jason Miller of Federal News Radio wonders if contractors are worrying too much over the GSA’s transactional data rule, the SBA has a new leader, and much more.

  • The federal government is boosting the use of contracts to save energy that require no upfront capital costs or special appropriations from Congress. [Bloomberg Government]
  • Former President Obama’s blacklisting rule, estimated to cost business $474 million to enforce, awaits a likely repeal in the Senate. [Chief Executive]
  • Many government contractors are worried, fearful and in disbelief about the General Services Administration’s implementation of its Transactional Data Rule. But should they be so concerned? [Federal News Radio]
  • A roundtable discussion recommended the Trump administration conduct a review of all acquisition regulations and policies with a goal of reducing them and including sunset provisions in existing ones to force a periodical review. [Federal News Radio]
  • Dump the DUNS? The GSA took an important step toward reducing its reliance on a proprietary business entity identifier system in government contracting. [FCW]
  • In a rare display of bipartisanship, the Senate confirmed former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon to lead the SBA as part of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. [Fox News]
  • The White House is preparing a new executive order to require agencies to plan and suggest ways to reorganize the government. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

I don’t know about your part of the country, but here in Lawrence, the temperatures have plunged and it has finally felt like winter for the first time.  When temps get cold, I prefer to stay inside with a hot beverage, but I have to hand it to all of the die hard Chiefs fans who scoffed at the single-digit temperatures and spent the evening watching their team defeat the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium last night.

As we continue our wintry approach to the holidays, it’s been a big week in government contracting. Here on SmallGovCon, we’ve been focusing on the government contracting provisions of the 2017 NDAA, and this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review has an additional update on the bill’s progress.  But that’s not all: our weekly roundup of government contracting news also includes a change to the FAR to reflect SBA regulations regarding multiple-award contracts, previews of contracting under President-elect Trump, and much more.

  • The 2017 NDAA conference bill has been approved by House and Senate, and is now on President Obama’s desk.  Will he sign it? [ExecutiveGov]
  • Speaking of the 2017 NDAA, it includes provisions restoring the GAO’s ability to hear protests of civilian task and delivery orders in excess of $10 million. [FCW]
  • Two men who executed “the largest disadvantaged business enterprise fraud in the nation’s history” will not have their sentences adjusted after a court denied a request for leniency. [Central Penn Business Journal]
  • Washington Technology takes a look at the incoming Trump administration and what is next for contractors. [Washington Technology]
  • Federal contracts played a factor in United Technologies’ decision to keep a Carrier plant in Indianapolis open at the request of President-elect Trump. [The Washington Post]
  • A bill protecting whistleblowers who expose what they think is wrongdoing in government contracts has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by President Obama. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
  • What will be the new administration’s acquisition priorities? Speculation opaquely says increased outsourcing of government activity, but what does that mean? Federal Times tries to answer these and other questions. [Federal Times]
  • President-elect Trump has nominated Linda McMahon, of World Wrestling Entertainment fame, to head the SBA. [ExecutiveGov]
  • The FAR Council has proposed important changes to implement regulatory changes made by the SBA, which provide Government-wide policy for partial set-asides and reserves, and set-aside orders for small business concerns under multiple-award contracts. [Federal Register]
  • The GSA has inked a government-wide deal for Adobe’s “data-centric” security and electronic signature software which the GSA believes could save American taxpayers $350 million. [fedscoop]
  • A commentator opines that improving government contracting should begin with “dumping the DUNS.” [The Hill]

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Koprince Law LLC

I am back in the office after a great time at the 2017 National Veterans Small Business Engagement in St. Louis. I was able to see many familiar faces and meet many new ones. A big thanks to everyone who attended my presentation on the nonmanufacturer rule and visited the Koprince Law booth–and most of all, thank you to all the veterans I met for your service and sacrifices.

In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we take a look at two separate cases where contractors conspired to defraud the government, the Census Bureau is finally able to move forward with preparations for the 2020 Census, the General Services Administration has named its new leader, and much more.

  • A government contractor has been convicted of major fraud for executing a scheme to defraud the United States on a construction contract valued at approximately $1.5 million. [United States Department of Justice]
  • Federal prosecutors sought the maximum allowed sentence for a defense contractor who bilked the government out of more than $15.4 million. [Pilot Online]
  • Federal agencies are beginning to catch up with the ever-evolving nature of cyber risk, but the scope and complexity of federal contracting cannot keep up with the challenges. [Forbes]
  • AT&T has withdrawn its protest of the Census Bureau contract to provide mobile devices for workers, allowing the agency o move forward after the $283 million procurement dispute. [Nextgov]
  • After continued efforts to change the federal procurement process by submitting bid protests, Latvian Connection has been handed a two-year suspension from the GAO, preventing it from filing further bid protests. [Federal News Radio] (and see my take here)
  • The GSA has a new leader in Emily Murphy, who received Senate approval on Tuesday to become the next administrator of the GSA. [fedscoop]
  • The GAO released a report describing potential improvements in the VA’s acquisition of medical and surgical supplies. [GAO]

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Koprince Law LLC

With Christmas just two days away, it is time for  many of us to focus on family and friends and enjoy a few days off. I hope that you have an enjoyable holiday season and are able to surround yourself with those that mean the most to you. Before we take a little break for the holidays we are happy to bring you this final 2016 edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review. (We won’t be publishing a Week in Review next week, but will be back with more in 2017).

As we head into the final week of 2016, we take a look at two separate fraud cases where million dollar fines have been assessed, more predictions of how the incoming Trump Administration will affect government contractors, 2017 is shaping up as a competitive year in IT contracting, and much more.

  • The Trump transition and campaign websites provide some insight about the acquisition agenda that the new administration will pursue, as well as other policies that may impact government contractors and federal acquisition personnel. [Washington Technology]
  • A Rhode Island business will pay $1 million dollars to resolve civil allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting, or causing the submission of, claims for reimbursement for funding earmarked for minority, women-owned, or small business that it was not entitled to receive. [The Valley Breeze]
  • Two Arkansas business owners are accused of falsely claiming to be a service-disabled veteran owned business in order to collect more than $15.5 million in federal contracts. [Arkansas Online]
  • Our very own Senior Associate Attorney Matthew Schoonover was interviewed for this article on the controversy surrounding the Trump Washington hotel. [Bloomberg Politics]
  • According to one commentator, the GSA is taking steps to make multiple award schedules more expensive for contractors. [Allen Federal Business Partners]
  • President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Army Secretary has some people wondering who? But that may be just what the Army needs. [Federal News Radio]
  • 2017 is shaping up to be a very competitive year for IT contracts across the U.S. military branches and Defense Department. [Nextgov]
  • A handful of defense organizations are crying foul on a proposed regulation that may eat into research funding the Defense Department gives to industry. [Federal News Radio]
  • The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 directs more limited use of Low Price Technically Acceptable procurements, which may be a welcome holiday gift for federal contractors. [Washington Technology]
  • Jason Miller of Federal News Radio takes an in depth look at three changes to federal acquisition agencies that industry should know about. [Federal News Radio]
  • The federal government maintains a database of every contract action above the $3,500 threshold, but despite this expansive data set, the government does not capture meaningful visibility into what agencies are actually buying. [Federal News Radio]
  • Will a potential Trump hiring freeze on federal hiring result in the hiring of more contractors to compensate for a small internal agency workforce? [Government Executive]

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Koprince Law LLC

This winter’s first polar vortex is upon us, and although much of the country has been getting hit with snow, Kansas has managed to stay mostly snow free with temperatures centered around a balmy 30 degrees. As the vortex sweeps its way out, we are looking to get our first dose of really cold weather with lows in the teens this weekend. Weekends like this are perfect to spend time with family and daydream about being on a beach–or anyplace that does not require 10+ minutes of preparation just to leave the driveway.

While much of the nation prepares to dig itself out from a winter snowstorm, there is still plenty happening in the world of government contracts. In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, the FAR Council issues a rule responding to a judge’s injunction of much of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, a Virginia contractor will cough up $1 million to settle bid rigging and kickback allegations, and much more.

  • A Virginia contractor has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve claims of bid rigging and kickbacks. [Department of Justice]
  • The FAR Council issues a final rule responding to a federal judge’s injunction of portions of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. (It’s nice to see the FAR Council offering guidance, but if I were a betting man, I’d wager that this E.O. will be repealed by the incoming Administration). [Federal Register]
  • Speaking of Executive Orders that may be on the chopping block, the FAR Council has issued an interim rule implementing the “mandatory sick leave” E.O. [Federal Register]
  • Some business groups are celebrating President-elect Trump’s choice of Linda McMahon to lead the SBA. [Forbes]
  • It is getting increasingly more difficult for individuals and companies alike to stay on top of new technology and devices, but GAO is making some progress, it seems. [GovFresh]
  • Big thanks and congratulations to Guy Timberlake and The American Small Business Coalition on the success of their 2016 Holiday Charity Bash™, which took place last week and raised a lot of money for a great cause. (Koprince Law LLC was a proud sponsor). [GovConChannel]
  • President-elect Trump has called for a lifetime ban on certain federal employees later going to work for defense contractors. [The Fiscal Times]
  • ChallengeHER took place this week in Washington, offering encouragement and words of advice to WOSBs. [Federal News Radio]
  • NASA has adopted an interim final rule amending the NFS to implement revisions to the voucher submittal and payment process. [Federal Register]

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Koprince Law LLC

This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the 20th Annual Government Procurement Conference in Arlington, Texas. It was a great event and I was glad to see so many familiar faces. Next up, I’ll be in Des Moines on August 23rd for the Iowa Vendor Conference, where I’ll be joined by my friend Guy Timberlake for a great day of networking and information sessions.

But even as I log miles on the air and on the highways, there’s no mistaking the fact that we’re in the last days of the government fiscal year–and that means a busy week of government contracting news.  This week, SmallGovCon Week In Review takes a look at stories involving an update to CAGE codes, some Milwaukee businesses under investigation for wrongly portraying themselves as veteran-owned and minority-owned, a lack of oversight allowed contractors to overbill a government customer, a look at the uptick in government spending as the fourth quarter winds down, and much more.

  • The Defense Logistics Agency will, for the first time in 44 years, allow CAGE codes to expire. [Defense Logistics Agency]
  • Has the Homeland Security Department and it’s components gone overboard with agile? [Federal News Radio]
  • Several Milwaukee-area businesses are under investigation for falsely claiming  they were owned by minorities and military veterans in order to win government contracts. [Daily Progress]
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency said it will amend the ENCORE III RFP to fix some of the problems pointed out by protesters that were upheld by the GAO last week. [Federal News Radio]
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed contractors to overbill the government for more than $130,000 because the agency didn’t “always review contractor invoices to ensure costs claimed were allowable and adequately supported.” [The Daily Caller]
  • A proposed rule from the SBA would update the regulations governing the delivery and oversight of its business lending programs. [Federal Register]
  • The SBA is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit claiming it uses “creative accounting” for federal contracting benchmarks. [Federal News Radio]
  • The procurement policy world is heating up as summer begins to wind down and we jump into the final stretch of the fiscal year. [Federal News Radio]
  • Companies fraudulently got $268 million in contracts, according to a recent affidavit. [BizTimes]
  • A trifecta of companies protested the Department of Defense TRICARE contract awards, including the winner of the contract. [Federal News Radio]
  • The SBA has launched a new website that helps women-owned small businesses more easily manage eligibility and certification documents for the WOSB Federal Contract Program. [GCN]
  • An increasingly sluggish security review process is forcing some recruiters, contractors and agencies to change the way they enlist new qualified, cleared candidates. [Federal News Radio]

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Koprince Law LLC

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend.  I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family before I turn into a bit of a road warrior.  Next week, I’ll be at the 21st Government Procurement Conference in Texas; the following week I head to the West Coast for the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event, and I’ll wrap up the month in Oklahoma at the Indian Country Business Summit.

If you’ll be at any of these events, please stop by to say hello and talk about the latest happenings in the world of government contracts.  And speaking of latest happenings, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, a look at what it takes for contractors to win at the end of the federal fiscal year, a defense contractor is caught billing Porsches, Bentleys and other luxury costs to the Pentagon, a former contractor will pay a $50,000 fine for SDVOSB fraud, and more.

  • Government procurement thought leader Jennifer Schaus offers a look at characteristics that will help contractors be successful in the highly competitive market of government contracting. [American City & Country]
  • The Navy is keeping a close eye on its current access card program for vendors and contractors to get on base. [Federal News Radio]
  • It’s good to think about worst case scenarios: four ways to avoid suspension or debarment on federal contracts. [Construction DIVE]
  • A defense contractor billed luxury cars, million-dollar salaries and secret guns to the Pentagon according to a recent audit. [Government Executive]
  • A a former contractor was sentenced to three years probation and is forced to pay a $50,000 fine stemming from a “straw man” scheme to obtain SDVOSB contracts. [Dayton Daily News]
  • A San Diego defense contractor pleased guilty to a conflict of interest charge for engaging in projects overseen by a Navy official who had given him and his company personal loans totaling more than $30,000. [Times of San Diego]
  • A Department of Labor investigation led to the discovery that a Minnesota company failed to pay prevailing wages to its employees working on a U.S. Housing and Urban Development project. [Business Management]

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Koprince Law LLC

We have been hard a work all week long here at Koprince Law and are ready to take advantage of the Labor Day weekend. Not only is it a long weekend, but it is also the start of the college football season. There is nothing better than football, tailgating and cooler weather to get you in the mood for fall (although our local Kansas Jayhawks haven’t exactly been tearing up the gridiron in recent years).

Before you head out the door to enjoy the holiday weekend, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. This week’s edition includes articles on the recent implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, a look at the large amount of money spent of professional services and how that spending is (or isn’t) tracked, a proposed rule for streamlining awards for innovative technology projects and much more.

  • Business in government-wide acquisition contracts is booming, with agency buyers turning to the large-scale vehicles for price breaks and convenience. [Washington Technology]
  • Bloomberg BNA has an interesting Q&A session involving the recently released Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulations. [Bloomberg BNA]
  • According to one commentator, government contracting is being hurt by the lack of transparency and secrecy with the amount of money flowing through all the contract vehicles across government. [Washington Technology]
  • The Obama administration has finalized plans to bring more scrutiny to potential federal contractors’ histories of violating labor laws, releasing twin final regulations that will implement a 2014 executive order. [Government Executive]
  • A government contractor is required to pay $142,500 to settle civil fraud allegations that their employees engaged in labor mischarging. [Department of Justice]
  • Agencies spend almost $63 billion a year on professional services and there is a new plan to help the government improve how it buys and manages these contracts. [Federal News Radio]
  • A proposed rule has been issued to amend the DFARS to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that provides exceptions from the certified cost and pricing data requirements and from the records examination requirement for certain awards to small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors. [Federal Register]

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Koprince Law LLC

I have just returned from Indian Country Business Summit in Norman, Oklahoma, where I enjoyed catching up some old friends and making some new ones.  This conference continues to grow every year–if you haven’t been yet, get it on your calendar for next year.  You won’t regret it.

Of course, like all of us, my thoughts this week have been with the citizens of Houston and elsewhere in Texas as they battle the horrible effects of Harvey. While Harvey dominated the news this week, there was still plenty happening in the world of government contracts.  This edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review brings articles on the end-of-the-year rush to nab contracting dollars, pending legislation to encourage agencies to “Buy American,” a look at the top 10 acquisition trends of FY 2017 and more.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend and stay safe, Houston.

  • As the clock ticks down on FY 2017, an estimated $98 billion in federal agency contract obligations remains unspent. [Bloomberg Government]
  • A family-owned paper manufacturer might have had the best government contract of all time that has lasted over 240 years, but could it be coming to an end? [Energy & Capital]
  • A U.S. Senator has hopes of making it easier for domestic manufacturers to find out when federal agencies pick a foreign company to make a part that they say isn’t available domestically. [theday]
  • The GAO has upheld a bid protest finding that the Labor Department had given an unfair advantage to one of the companies bidding on their nearly $100 million contract. [Federal News Radio]
  • Federal Times takes a step back and assesses the contracting environmental trends that have emerged over the past year. [Federal Times]
  • DHS is adding more rigor to vendor supply chains for a governmentwide cybersecurity initiative. [Federal News Radio]
  • Bloomberg Government is reporting an 8% increase in total contract spending in FY2016 from FY2015. [Bloomberg Government]

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Koprince Law LLC

Greetings from Oklahoma, where I am wrapping up a busy week of travel that has included speaking engagements both at the Iowa Vendor Conference and The Indian Country Business Summit.

While I’ve been on the road, it has also been a noteworthy week in government contracting news. This week, SmallGovCon Week In Review takes a look at stories about the year end spending frenzy, the Freedom of Information Act may undergo major changes, DoD is barely exceeding 50% when it comes to meaningful competitions, and much more.

  • The projected federal contract spending is on a decidedly upward slant with two issues affecting the year-end spending frenzy. [American City & County]
  • What impact will the outcome of the presidential election have on the government contracting landscape? [GovBizConnect]
  • Federal agencies could soon face a new governmentwide guidance on how they respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, following an upcoming meeting in September. [Federal news Radio]
  • The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has launched a dashboard to hold agencies accountable to meet the goals in the category management memos. [Federal News Radio]
  • With worry that only 56.5 percent of the DoD’s contracted dollars involved a meaningful competition between two or more vendors, they have issued a series of corrective actions to reverse a downward slide that has been ongoing for nearly a decade. [Federal News Radio]
  • Several speculative conclusions can be made based on fiscal 2015 government contracting data and, according to one commentator, the outlook is not positive. [Federal News Radio]
  • The FAR Council published the final rule regarding the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which imposes a host of new obligations on government contractors, including an obligation to report various labor law violations during the bid and proposal process. [The Hill]
  • A former MCC Construction Company officer and owner pleads guilty to conspiring to defraud the government. [The United States Department of Justice]

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Koprince Law LLC

It has been a busy week that kicked off with a total solar eclipse.  I was on an airline heading to San Diego for 2017 Department of the Navy Gold Coast Small Business Procurement Event, so I missed the spectacle.  I didn’t get to wear eclipse glasses, but was well worth it to be part of that great annual procurement conference.  My travels aren’t over: next week, I’m off to Norman, Oklahoma to speak at the annual Indian County Business Summit.

While travel has me occasionally wondering which day of the week it is, I haven’t forgotten that it is time for your weekly dose of SmallGovCon Week In Review. This edition includes a tale of Davis-Bacon Act violations, a no-bid contract is now coming under fire (and protests), a new list of the top federal contractors has hit the shelves and much more.

  • DHS’s migration to a unified workforce training and performance management system has been dubbed a “textbook definition of waste.” [Federal News Radio]
  • Workers were kept in the dark about compensation they were owed under the Davis-Bacon Act after performing jobs involving hazardous material that resulted in them making $9.63 less per hour than required by the law. [NBC News]
  • Alliant 2 remains on schedule for award prior to winter of 2017; with GSA asking bidders to extend their offers through December 31. [Federal News Radio]
  • A bid protest has been filed against the VA for allegedly awarding Cerner a contract for its new EHR without conducting a competitive bidding process. [Healthcare IT News]
  • A recent report from the Office of Management and Budget on the DATA Act’s two-part Section 5 pilot, which covers federal grants and federal contracts, recommends three steps to help expedite the process. [Federal News Radio]
  • The 6th annual BGOV200 study was released this week, ranking the top 200 federal government contractors by value of prime, unclassified contracts awarded by U.S. government agencies in FY 2016. [Bloomberg Government]
  • National Defense Magazine takes a look at the importance of a written code of business ethics and conduct, which will help demonstrate a company’s intent to operate as a presently responsible contractor and help bolster ones reputation. [National Defense]

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Koprince Law LLC

With the Olympics coming to a close this Sunday, we can look forward to getting back to our usual sleeping patterns without the lure of athletes seeking gold in Rio. So while preparations are ongoing for the closing ceremony and the eventual torch hand off to Tokyo, we continue to work to bring you the top government contracting news and notes for the week.

In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, a businessman will serve prison time after stealing a veteran’s identity and using it to obtain SDVOSB contracts, the first protest of the Alliant 2 solicitation has been filed, faulty military helmets manufactured at a Texas prison under a government contract have been recalled, and much more.

  • A six-year prison sentence was handed down to a businessman stealing a disabled veteran’s identity and using the information to seek $2.7 million in government contracts. [CBS DFW]
  • Has the VA acted too hastily when it quickly complied with the U.S. Supreme Court’s “rule of two” decision in the Kingdomware Case? [Federal News Radio]
  • A $2.25 million fine will be paid out by a research and development company, financed largely by federal government funding, to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by seeking disbursements from federal agencies for falsified labor costs. [United States Department of Justice]
  • The first protest has come just six weeks after the GSA released the request for proposals for the massive IT services multiple award contract known as Alliant 2. [Federal News Radio]
  • Government marketing expert Michelle Hermelee, CSCM, discusses two of the new GSA initiatives and what they mean for federal contractors. [Government Product News]
  • Small businesses that contract with the federal government fear proposed changes to regulations will push them out of the bidding process. [The Hill]
  • Mid-tier companies of smaller size are finding it impossible to compete on Alliant 2 Unrestricted and are voicing complaints that could result in a pre-award protest. [Washington Technology]
  • More than 126,000 helmets manufactured at a Texas prison under a government contract were recalled after inspectors found major defects, including serious ballistic failures. [The Washington Times]
  • Industry now has another two weeks to submit bids for Alliant 2, the largest IT contract released in the past decade, after an extension by the General Services Administration. [Nextgov]

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With what is being deemed “The Great American Eclipse” ready to hit the skies on Monday, there is a lot of excitement in the air here in Lawrence. We are just off the path of totality and are expecting 99.3% coverage. My colleagues and family will be outside (with protective eyewear of course) and witness this amazing moment. As for me, I’ll be in San Diego, speaking at the 2017 Department of the Navy Gold Coast Conference which will drop my near total eclipse view down to a partial eclipse of about 58% coverage–but it’s well worth it to be part of this great event.

Before I take off for the West Coast, it’s time for the latest SmallGovCon Week In Review. This week, two Senators have filed an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act called the Modernizing Government Technology Act, an “Amazon-like” procurement system might not be too far off, a company is forced to repay millions of dollars amid allegations of overcharging the government, and much more.

  • The bipartisan Modernizing Government Technology Act is being attached as an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act in hopes of improving its chances of being approved. [Federal News Radio]
  • With six weeks left in FY 2017, budget experts are warning federal contractors to begin planning for a possible government shutdown. [Federal News Radio]
  • A provision in the House version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act may soon make ordering office supplies, equipment, or even contract services as easy as placing an order on Amazon. [Government Executive]
  • A contractor will pay $9.2 million dollars to settle allegations of overbilling the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard for labor charges. [WLOX]
  • Government contracts sales guru Eileen Kent provides some pointers for businesses interested in cashing in on opportunities available at the end of the federal fiscal year. [Government Product News]
  • A lawsuit by the American Small Business League, heading for trial, alleges that some large defense contractors manipulate data to falsely claim they are meeting their small business subcontracting targets. [Forbes]

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It’s hard to believe that August is already here. Before we know it, the end of the government fiscal year will be here–and if tradition holds, a slew of bid protests related to those inevitable last-minute contract awards.

In our first SmallGovCon Week In Review for August, two big-wig executives who previously plead guilty to charges of conspiracy now face civil claims, some helpful tips on how to prepare for the year-end contracting frenzy, Schedule 70 looks to be improved, a major roadblock for the ENCORE III IT service contract, and much more.

  • A False Claims Act complaint has been filed by the U.S. Justice Department against two former New Jersey executives accused of defrauding the military. [nj.com]
  • A federal judge said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed a “cavalier disregard” for the truth and favoritism during the evaluation of bid proposals for its financial management. [Modern Healthcare]
  • A watchdog found that a five-year contract originally valued at a fixed price of nearly $182 million ballooned to $423 million. [Government Executive]
  • A GSA top acquisition official has promised an improved Schedule 70 following an audit that found price discrepancies for identical products and some offered at higher prices than they were commercially available. [Nextgov]
  • Washington Technology offers eight tips to help contractors prepare for the last month of the government fiscal year. [Washington Technology]
  • A growing legion of small businesses are trying make federal contracting a bigger part of their revenue as federal small business awards stay above $90 billion for the past two fiscal years. [Bloomberg]
  • A group of men, women and corporations have been indicted for illegally winning government contracts worth some $350 million by misrepresenting themselves as straw companies controlled by either low-income individuals or disabled veterans. [The State]
  • The final “blacklisting” rule to prevent businesses that had broken labor laws from working with the federal government is expected soon, and the National Labor Relations Board is preparing to follow the proposal. [Society for Human Resource Management]
  • The growing number of bid protests appears unavoidable, regardless of the efforts to engage industry before, during and after the bidding process. [Nextgov]
  • The GAO has sustained protests challenging the terms of the major ENCORE III IT services contract. [Federal News Radio]

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It’s been a rainy spring here in Lawrence, but the sun is finally out today.  And speaking of sunshine, I’ll be in sunny San Diego on Monday to speak at the APTAC Spring 2017 Training Conference.  I am looking forward to catching up with many of my favorite “PTACers” next week.

Before I head to the West Coast, it’s time for our weekly rundown of government contracting news and commentary.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a contractor has agreed to pay nearly $20 million to resolve accusations of overcharging the VA, the GSA is considering removing a mandate requiring industry partners to participate in the new Transactional Data Reporting pilot, the GAO concludes that DoD’s buying power is on the rise, and much more.

  • Public Spend Forum offers tips on how to bridge the gap between public procurement and government contracting. [Public Spend Forum]
  • After being accused of overcharging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for drugs under two contracts, Sanofi-Pasteur has agreed to pay $19.8 million. [The United States Department of Justice]
  • As the GSA approaches a transition to its new communications effort, it has promised to learn from its past mistakes by listening more to its agency customers and industry partners and simplifying its efforts. [Federal News Radio]
  • In its annual assessment of the Defense Department’s major weapons systems, the GAO calculated that over the past year the DoD has seen a $10.7 billion increase in its “buying power.” [Federal News Radio]
  • UnitedHealthcare has filed GAO bid protests challenging DoD’s decision to award two large contracts in military health care to rival insurers. [StarTribune]
  • The Pentagon is ending a seven-year drawdown of acquisition spending after the Defense Department 2016 fiscal contract obligations increased by 7% over the previous year. [Government Executive]
  • The GSA is considering whether to remove a mandate requiring industry partners seeking or renewing a schedule to participate in its Transactional Data Reporting Pilot. [Nextgov]

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I’m starting to feel like the old Johnny Cash and Lynn Anderson song, I’ve Been Everywhere. After two trips out west earlier this month, I spent time this week in Wichita with the Kansas PTAC, and soon enough I will be back on the road for the SAME Omaha Post 2017 Industry Day.  I am always grateful for the opportunity to meet contractors, government officials, and others in the industry–and I am always heartened by how many people I meet at these events have kind words to say about SmallGovCon.

It’s Friday, and time for our weekly look at the latest in the government contracting world. In this edition of  SmallGovCon Week In Review, a contractor faces potential jail time for selling Chinese-made items to the government, Defense analysts anticipate little impact from the recent “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, one commentator says that a recent LPTA National Guard contract hurts those who work to support our troops, and much more.

  • When it comes to wishlists for the last half of 2017, financial and contracting experts say perhaps the most agencies can hope for from Congress is the status quo. [Federal News Radio]
  • Defense analysts are anticipating little impact from President Donald Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. [National Defense]
  • One commentator says that a recent “low-ball” National Guard contract is hurting those who work to ‘support our troops.’ [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • The federal government’s biggest challenge in defending its civilian, military and intelligence networks from hackers isn’t technology, it’s people. [Nextgov]
  • The Army has announced that several cloud RFPs are already in the works under the new ACCENT contract. [Federal News Radio]
  • A contractor (who is also a member of the Army Reserves) has been convicted of selling Chinese-made items to the government in violation of the Buy American Act, Berry Amendment, and the contracts’ “100% U.S. MADE” requirement. [United States Department of Justice]

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I was fortunate enough to spend the beginning half of my week speaking at the 2017 SAME Small Business Symposium in Bremerton, Washington. It was a wonderful event and it was nice to be able to see so many familiar faces (and make some new acquaintances). I am back in the office to wrap up the week and bring you yet another SmallGovCon Week In Review.

In this week’s edition: former President Obama’s “mandatory sick leave” Executive Order may remain on the books after all, IDIQ contracts made up about one-third of all federal contracting spending over a four-year period, contractors react to President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order, and much  more.

  • Why won’t many small firms won’t sell to the government?  FCW provides some answers. [FCW]
  • Surprise: an Obama Executive Order mandating sick leave for federal contractor employees, once considered primed for reversal by the Trump administration, may be here to stay. [Bloomberg BNA]
  • The DoD is parsing out exactly how it will split one of its biggest and most infamous sections after Congress mandated the division last year. [Federal News Radio]
  • Between 2011-2015 the sometimes-controversial contract type known as indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity accounted for an annual $130 billion of agency awards. [Government Executive]
  • Quantum computing is about to disrupt the government contracts market. [Bloomberg Government]
  • The White House previewed an Executive Order that will make it tougher to obtain foreign contracting waivers and H-1B visas, which the administration claims will boost manufacturing and skilled labor at home. [Federal Times]
  • Insider threats present a real danger to federal agencies, and those threats have inspired the GSA to issue a Schedule 70 special item number for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation products and services. [FCW]
  • President Trump’s “Buy American” order is drawing mixed reviews from government contractors. [Government Executive]
  • The SBA released a notice of termination of the class waiver to the nonmanufacturer rule for rubber gloves. [Federal Register]

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I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on the West Coast lately: I started the week in San Diego as a speaker at the APTAC’s Spring 2017 Training Conference and after a few days in the office will be heading back on the road to present at the 2017 SAME Small Business Symposium in Bremerton, WA. If you will be attending please come say hello!

Before I head back West, it’s time for our weekly look at comings and goings in the world of federal government contracting.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a business owner pleads guilty to defrauding more than 1,000 would-be contractors in a sleazy registration scheme, the GSA’s Alliant 2 unrestricted contract is moving forward, a government official goes on the record as stating that some contractors are “kicking butt,” and much more.

  • Government agencies are paying out millions of dollars to contractors that violate federal labor laws, says government watchdog. [FederalTimes]
  • The GSA’s Transactional Data Reporting program is supposed to eliminate the need for contractor-supplied price and discounting information but there is widespread anecdotal evidence to show that this is not happening. [Federal News Radio]
  • More GSA news: the Assisted Acquisition Services has found itself moving away from IT and into professional services. [Federal News Radio]
  • A national counterintelligence chief gave a pat on the to the contractors who are “kicking butt” in helping agencies head off insider threats. [Government Executive]
  • DHS’s acquisition processes are improving, according to a new GAO audit. [Nextgov]
  • The Alliant 2 unrestricted acquisition is moving forward: GSA has reached the source selection phase and will soon be contacting bidders to verify certain information. [FederalTimes]
  • A sleazy “government contracts registration” scheme has resulted in a guilty plea from a defendant accused of defrauding more than 1,000 would-be contractors. [United States Department of Justice]
  • A small-business advocate has won a day in court with Pentagon attorneys to argue whether the DOD should release internal documents that the plaintiff argues will reveal a government bias against small defense contractors. [Government Executive]

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It’s hard to top last week’s government contracting news, which included the major SDVOSB Supreme Court victory in Kingdomware.  But with the Fourth of July just a week and a half away, there is still plenty going on in the world of government contracts law.

In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, an SDVOSB’s owner speaks out about his important GAO bid protest win, suspensions and debarments of government contractors dropped in 2015, major changes are coming to the GSA Schedule, HUBZone contract awards decline, and much more.

  • After winning a legal battle with the VA, Spur Design’s owner talks about what his company’s victory means for veteran-owned businesses. [Flatland]
  • The Office of Management and Budget has directed federal agencies to adopt practices that will simplify and streamline software acquisition. [E-Commerce Times]
  • Agencies’ budgets for extramural research are wavering amid increasing requirements to set aside funding for small business tech and innovation programs. [fedscoop]
  • A construction company executive has been found guilty of wrongfully winning $100 million in federal contracts that give preference to veteran-owned companies. [Boston Globe]
  • Defense Department procurement officials have agreed to expand their use of the General Services Administration’s single contract for complex professional services known as OASIS. [Government Executive]
  • Suspension and debarments of government contractors fell 3.7 percent in fiscal year 2015 over the previous year according to the annual report of the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee. [Government Executive]
  • The Department of Homeland Security will begin accepting video proposals in addition to written ones as part of a procurement innovation initiative. [Federal Times]
  • Vendors could save millions with the new General Services Administration reporting requirement that is being called the “most transformational change to GSA’s Federal Supply Schedules Program in more than two decades.” [Federal Times]
  • Plans to file a lawsuit against the Army are in the works based on claims that the military service has shown bias against off-the-shelf products in its solicitation for a $206 million intelligence IT contract. [Federal News Radio]
  • HUBZone contract awards have stalled again, after two years of modest increases, continuing a mostly downward trend that began six years ago. [Set-Aside Alert]
  • The Labor Department is investigating whether workers on Donald Trump’s renovation of Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office are being paid less than federal law requires. [Politico]
  • Are Federal agencies overspending billions of dollars each year by allowing employees to make micropurchases on government charge cards instead of using the government’s buying power? [Government Executive]

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I’m back in the office after a week-long family beach vacation around the 4th of July.  Kudos to my colleagues here at Koprince Law for putting out last week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review while I was out having some fun in the sun.

This week’s edition of our weekly government contracts news roundup includes a prison term for an 8(a) fraudster, a Congressional focus on full implementation of the Supreme Court’s Kingdomware decision, the release of an important new FAR provision regarding small business subcontracting, and more.

  • A businessman from Fairfax, Virginia has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining contracts worth $6 million from a federal program created to help minority-owned small businesses. [IndiaWest]
  • A top Congressional Republican wants to make sure the Department of Veterans Affairs is fully implementing the Supreme Court’s unanimous Kingdomware decision. [The Hill]
  • A look ahead to next spring brings hope of contracting reform and a focus on having an effective cost-comparison system and effective contract management in place. [Federal News Radio]
  • Two former New Jersey construction executives have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to secure government contracts by bribing foreign officials. [Reuters]
  • The FAR Council has issued a final rule amending the FAR to implement regulatory changes made by the SBA, which provide for a Governmentwide policy on small business subcontracting. [Federal Register]
  • Congress wants the DoD to shed more light on how it is using lowest-price, technically-acceptable contracts–and report back to Congress in the spring. [GovTech Works]

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An agency isn’t required to cancel a small business set-aside solicitation if the agency learns that one of the small businesses upon whom the set-aside decision rested is no longer small.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that an agency need not redo its “rule of two” determination when a potential small business competitor outgrows its size standard–even if it could effectively convert a particular solicitation into a “rule of one.”

The GAO’s decision in Synchrogenix Information Strategies, LLC, B-414068.4 (Sept. 8, 2017) involved an FDA acquisition for software licenses, maintenance and support and related services.  Before issuing the solicitation, the agency issued a request for information on FedBizOpps, seeking information from businesses regarding their interest in the procurement.

The FDA received three responses to the RFI from small businesses.  After evaluating those responses, the FDA concluded that it was reasonably likely to receive at least two or more offers from responsible small businesses.  Accordingly, the FDA issued the solicitation as a total small business set-aside.

The agency received two proposals by the original closing date, August 10, 2016.  After evaluating those proposals, the FDA awarded the contract to Lorenz International.  The unsuccessful offeror, GlobalSummit, then filed a GAO bid protest challenging the award.

In response, the agency took voluntary corrective action.  It asked both offerors to submit “a new full proposal.”  New proposals were due on May 15, 2017.  The new proposals were to include “all certifications, technical and business information” required by the solicitation.

In March 2017, Synchrongenix Information Strategies, LLC “purchased substantially all of GlobalSummit’s assets.”  The purchase created an affiliation between GlobalSummit and Synchrogenix, a large business. As a result, GlobalSummit was no longer small.

GlobalSummit asked that the FDA remove the certification requirement.  It explained that, at the time of its original proposal in August 2016, it had qualified as a small business.  However, because of the affiliation with Synchrogenix, it would no longer qualify as small if forced to re-certify in May 2017.

The FDA declined to remove the requirement.

Synchrogenix (presumably acting as successor-in-interest to GlobalSummit) filed a GAO bid protest.  Synchrogenix argued that the FDA was required to cancel the small business set-aside and reissue the solicitation as unrestricted because there was no longer a reasonable expectation of receiving two or more offers from small businesses.  Instead, Synchrogenix contended, the agency could only expect to receive one offer–from Lorenz.  Synchrogenix argued that proceeding with the acquisition would be tantamount to a de facto sole source award to Lorenz.

The GAO sought the SBA’s opinion.  The SBA weighed in on the FDA’s side, stating:

There is no requirement in the Small Business Act, the FAR, or SBA regulations, that an agency must redo its market research regarding the “rule of two” prior to requesting revised or newly submitted proposals during the course of a procurement or altogether cancel the solicitation if it becomes aware that only one responsible small business offer will be received in response to an amended solicitation. 

The SBA further explained “it is not uncommon that an agency becomes aware, over the course of a procurement, that it will receive only one revised offer from a small business concern.”  The SBA pointed out that small businesses “may drop out of a competition for a variety of reasons . . . such that there is only one responsible small business offeror remaining.”  In such a case, “the agency may make award to that firm, provided award will be made at a fair market price.”

The GAO found the SBA’s reasoning persuasive.  “As SBA advised in response to this protest,” GAO wrote, “there is no requirement in law or regulation that an agency must revisit” its rule of two determination when it becomes aware that it will only receive one offer from an eligible small business.  GAO concluded: [t]he fact that, during the course of the procurement, one of the two small business offerors is no longer capable of submitting a revised proposal, does not mean the procurement should be viewed as a de facto sole source procurement.”

The GAO denied the protest.

The Synchrogenix case makes the point that if an agency’s market research is sufficient to justify a set-aside, the agency need not adjust its determination if it later comes to realize that it will only receive one offer from a qualified small business.  In other words, it can be permissible for a “rule of two” set-aside to effectively turn into a “rule of one” as the acquisition proceeds.

Interestingly, it’s not clear to me that Synchrogenix was ineligible for the FDA solicitation in the first place.  Under the SBA’s regulations, size ordinarily is determined as of the date of an initial offer; GlobalSummit met that requirement in August 2016.  While there used to be a provision in the regulations allowing contracting officers to require recertifications in connection with certain amendments, that rule was eliminated a few years ago.  And although SBA’s regulations do call for a company to recertify its size if it is acquired by another entity, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held, in Size Appeal of W.I.N.N. Group, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5360 (2012), that “[t]his provision does not deal with the date for determining size for contract award,” but instead merely addresses whether the agency can count the award toward its small business goals.

It’s a complex area of law, but Sychrogenix might have had better luck if it had protested the FDA’s authority to require a size recertification–or if Synchrogenix had simply submitted an offer and forced the Contracting Officer to go through the SBA size protest process to determine whether Synchrogenix was eligible.


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