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SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 6-10, 2017

I am headed back to Kansas after a great trip out west to speak at the 2017 Alliance Northwest Procurement Conference in Puyallup, WA. It was great seeing many familiar faces and meeting many other new ones. But I won’t be home long: I will be off to fabulous Las Vegas for the National RES Conference, where I’ll be presenting on Monday. If you will be at RES, please be sure to connect. Even with all of this travel, I’ve been keeping a close eye on government contracting news–and that means that it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, scammers are using the HHS OIG telephone number in a spoofing ploy, the GAO releases a report on developments in the HUBZone program, a Coast Guard employee makes a funny FedBizOpps post (no, really!) and more. A post from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Pacific Northwest contracting office that appeared on FedBizOpps showed some humor, and a bit of bureaucratic frustration. [The Libertarian Republic] The GAO reports that agencies need to step it up when it comes to protecting contractor whistleblowers. [U.S. Government Accountability Office] Fraud Alert! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General recently confirmed that the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam. [Office of Inspector General] The SBA has made significant improvements in HUBZone Program administration, but some weaknesses remain. [U.S. Government Accountability Office] One commentator explains that the GSA Schedule program needs an overhaul–and offerors some thoughts as to how the program should be revised. [Federal News Radio] The former owners of a Pittsburgh-area military supplier have been accused of defrauding the U.S. government of more than $6 million in defense contract work. The Defense Department may have hit upon an acquisition innovation that is slowly drifting to the civilian world. [Federal News Radio] The Senate voted Monday to kill an Obama administration rule aimed at curbing labor violations among government contractors and President Trump can seal its fate with his signature. [The Center for Public Integrity] Washington Technology gives us 5 steps for contractors to meet the FAR’s cyber requirements. [Washington Technology]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 27-31, 2017

Here at Koprince Law LLC, we just celebrated our second anniversary (which we affectionately call our “firmaversary”). Thank you very much to our wonderful lawyers, staff and clients for a fantastic first two years. It’s time for our weekly dose of the latest and greatest in federal government contracting news–the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule is gone, contractors weigh in on the President’s “skinny budget” proposal, a new bill would expand the USASpending.gov website, and much more. Contractors weigh in on the highs and lows of President Trump’s proposed “skinny budget.” [Government Executive] The “Contractor Accountability and Transparency Act of 2017” will expand the contracting information available on USASpending.gov and make the contract information more accessible and readable. [Project On Government Oversight] President Donald Trump signed a joint resolution shutting down the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule that supporters said evened the playing field for law-abiding contractors, and opponents singled out as unduly burdensome. [Federal News Radio] The White House released a statement on the revocation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order and other contracting-related executive orders issued by former President Obama. [The White House] Speaking of repeals, the President’s action rolls back pieces of an Obama executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity. [NBC News] When it comes to federal IT acquisition, the workforce is too small, the hurdles are numerous, and modernization is slow. A House subcommittee hears proposals for modernizing Federal IT acquisition. [Federal News Radio] The White House has released a few more details on how exactly it plans to cut $18 billion from some civilian agencies and offset significant boosts to defense and homeland security spending for the rest of fiscal 2017. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: March 26 – 30, 2018

It’s moving day at Koprince Law LLC. We are in the midst of moving into our new digs at 901 Kentucky Street, Suite 301 here in Lawrence. Our new office has a lot more space to support our growing firm, and is just a two-block walk to Chipotle. I call that a win-win. While we get the new space ready for Monday morning, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week in Review. In this week’s edition, the GSA’s Inspector General is investigating fraudulent activity on SAM, Bloomberg Government expects the number of mergers and acquisitions in the federal contracting market to decrease in 2018, a mother and daughter plead guilty to bribing employees of the Picatinny Arsenal military base for 12 years with luxury items valued at $250,000, and much more. The GSA’s inspector general is investigating fraudulent activity on its contractor and grantee registration website after someone allegedly redirected federal payments to bank accounts not tied to the appropriate contractors. [fedscoop] Georgia Tech PTAC offers these useful tips for surviving the compromise of the SAM database. [GTPAC] “Other transaction authorities,” also known as OTAs or OTs, has been around longer than the FAR, but it may become the new, potentially game-changing acquisition model. [Nextgov] Bloomberg Government expects the number of mergers and acquisitions in the federal contracting market to decrease in 2018, a trend since 2015. [Bloomberg Government] The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals has proposed major changes to its rules of procedure. [federalregister.gov] CACI International has withdrawn a $7.2 billion bid for government IT Services conglomerate CSRA, ending a bidding war. [washingtonpost.com] A mother and daughter have pleaded guilty to bribing employees of a military base for 12 years. [njherald.com] The document that provides the most comprehensive information on services contracting was missing from the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget released in February. [govexec.com]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 20-24, 2017

The mantra of March Madness is “survive and advance,” but the Kansas Jayhawks did more than that in their 32-point win over Purdue last night. Here in Lawrence, we’re waiting for tomorrow night’s Elite Eight showdown with Oregon. And since waiting is always better with some good reading material, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, a look at how President Trump’s proposed military budget will impact customers, a contractor agrees to a whopping $45 million payout to settle allegations of overcharging the government, the Army contends that protests are “nearly automatic,” and much more. President Trump is requesting a big boost to military spending in the FY 2018 budget request blueprint, but not all contractors will win. [Bloomberg Government] After a long-lasting legal dispute between an IT contractor and the federal government, the contractor has agreed to pay $45 million to settle allegations that it overcharged and provided false pricing information to the government. [Nextgov] The National Park Service concessions program is making changes based on recommendations from the GAO, but challenges remain. [U.S. Government Accountability Office] Federal contractors are driving a trend of specialization to reposition themselves in the market so they can compete less on price and more on the value of particular skills and knowledge. [National Defense] High-ranking U.S. Army officials contend that protests are “nearly automatic” and are asking industry to reconsider its approach. (My take: with only 2,789 GAO bid protests filed in FY 2016–across all procurements by all federal agencies–I’m sensing a wee bit of exaggeration on the part of the Army). [DefenseNews] A possible bright spot for contractors asking how to maintain market share could be GWACs and IDIQs. [Washington Technology] According to government contracting guru Larry Allen, contractors should look forward to more activity in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 13-17, 2017

March Madness is here!  I hope your brackets are doing well.  So far, mine haven’t been “busted,” but Notre Dame looked mighty shaky in that opening-round win over Princeton. While I get ready for tomorrow’s games with my Duke Blue Devils and Kansas Jayhawks, I’m keeping an eye on the latest and greatest (or not so great) in government contracting. In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, the GAO releases a major report on the state of government contracting, an IT contractor will pay $45 million to resolve claims of overcharging the government, the SBA proposes to terminate a nonmanufacturer rule class waiver, and more. A revised National Institute of Standards and Technology guideline raises the risk profile of merger and acquisition deals and presents challenges. [Signal] Because the statute of limitations had expired, a federal judge threw out charges against two men accused of falsely claiming a construction company they operated was headed by a service-disabled veteran. [ArkansasOnline] The Federal Acquisition Service closed Schedule 75 for what it claimed would be just 24 months, but over six years later Schedule 75 remains closed to new offers. [Federal News Radio] The Government Accountability Office released a 66-page report that dives into the state of federal contracting and where those federal dollars are being spent. [Government Executive] An IT contractor will pay $45 million to resolve allegations of overcharging the GSA for software licenses and maintenance. [FCW] A proposed rule by the VA will amend and update various aspects of the VA Acquisition Regulations (VAAR). [Federal Register] A retired Navy admiral is among nine people indicted in a major bribery scandal. [Federal News Radio] The SBA is proposing to terminate the nonmanufacturer rule class waiver for rubber gloves. [Federal Register]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: Kingdomware Edition

Yesterday was a huge victory for SDVOSBs and VOSBs, as the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the VA’s “rule of two” is mandatory, and applies to all VA procurements – including GSA Schedule orders. The Kingdomware decision has drawn news coverage and discussion from across the country.  This special Kingdomware edition of the SmallGovCon Week In Review collects some of the many articles on this important precedent. Enjoy! SmallGovCon – Victory! SDVOSBs Win In Kingdomware Supreme Court Decision The Hill – Justices side with veteran-owned small business over VA SCOTUSblog – Opinion analysis: Unanimous Court hands victory to veterans in contracting dispute Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center – Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of VOSBs in case involving the VA’s use of GSA Schedule contracts VETLIKEME – We Won! We Won! Supreme Court Upholds Vet Preference in Kingdomware Federal Times – Supreme Court rules against VA in disabled vets contract dispute USA Today – Veteran-owned businesses win at Supreme Court PBS – Justices rule against VA in disabled vets contract dispute Jurist – Supreme Court rules for veteran-owned business Courthouse News Service – Veteran-Owned Business Wins High Court Reversal The Washington Post – High court says law requires more contracts for veteran-owned small  business RT – VA violated disabled vets law, deprived contract to vet owned business – Supreme Court  Law360 (subscription required) – High Court VA Ruling Gives Small Biz Big Opportunities
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 6-10, 2016

While we patiently await the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Kingdowmware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, there is still plenty happening in the world of government contracting. This week’s edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review is packed with important news and commentary, including stories on the Army looking to end its ‘use it or lose it’ budgeting, the continued push for category management, a sneaker company looking to nix an exemption in the Berry Amendment, allegations of SDVOSB fraud, and much more. The VA’s chief acquisition officer says that a new acquisition program management framework will be rolled out this summer. [Federal News Radio] The GAO is warning that CIOs in various agencies are undercutting the usefulness of the federal IT dashboard that is meant to offer feds and the public alike a way to keep tabs on how investments are likely to proceed. [FCW] As part of a directive set to take effect July 1, the Army is telling all of its major commands that they cannot cut a program’s funding just because it didn’t spend all of its money the year before. Will this directive help address the persistent “use it or lose it” problem associated with federal contracting? [Federal News Radio] Large and small companies alike are facing the loss of their GSA Schedule 75 contracts, as the GSA doesn’t plan on accepting new offers or renewing current Schedule holders’ contracts for at lease another nine months. [Federal News Radio] In the ongoing debate over category management, one commentator argues that category management is “good news for American taxpayers.” [FCW] President Obama has threatened to veto the 2017 NDAA, in part because of the bill’s acquisition reforms, many of which have support in the contracting community. [Government Executive] Who says sneaker wars only happen in basketball? New Balance is looking to become the sneaker brand of the U.S. Military by lobbying to remove a Berry Amendment exception. [Government Executive] An SDVOSB that was awarded a $3 million contract in the wake of the Joplin, Missouri May 2011 tornado has been indicted for allegedly passing-through the work to a non-SDVOSB and splitting the profits with that company. [KZRG]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 5-9, 2017

I’m not sure what the weather is going to be like in your neck of the woods, but we are ready for a few 90+ degree days here in Lawrence. It’s a great weekend for sitting in the shade with a cold lemonade and some good reading material. And if you need something to read, we’ve got you covered with the latest in government contracting news. In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, a Texas contractor has made nearly $2.5 million to settle procurement fraud allegations, the SBA’s administrative judges gain authority to hear size standard appeals, the last protest of the GSA’s EIS contract has ended, and much more. The new Air Force Secretary is placing emphasis on expanding the fleet of planes to meet worldwide demands and to do so more quickly. [Government Executive] The company with the last bid protest on General Services Administration’s long-delayed $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solution contract folded its cards. [Nextgov] Allegations claiming a North Texas contractor violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act in connection with federal contracts obtained form the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has resulted in a $2.475 million settlement. [Department of Justice] A comedy of errors led the Department of Homeland Security to cancel its $1.5 billion agile contract vehicle. [Federal News Radio] The SBA is amending the rules of practice of its Office of Hearings and Appeals, which authorizes OHA to decide Petitions for Reconsideration of Size Standards. [Federal Register] Nextgov looks at what exactly went wrong with the DHS’s contracting vehicle that pre-approved certain vendors selling agile software services. [Nextgov] The GSA is planning a major reorganization by moving the Technology Transformation Service into the Federal Acquisition Service. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: June 4 – 8, 2018

TGIF! Let’s get the weekend started off with a look at the latest and greatest in government contracting. In this week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, we’ll take a look at DoD’s final rule amending DFARS to increase certain micro-purchase thresholds, more questions about the SBA’s small business participation report cards, a former background investigator’s guilty plea, and much more. Have a great weekend! DoD issues final rule amending DFARS to increase micro-purchase thresholds. [Federal Register] Did the Small Business Administration really meet their FY17 goals. [Linkedin] A former background investigator pleads guilty to making a false statement and may serve 5 years. [U.S. Department of Justice] Google not renewing its contract with Pentagon due to employee backlash. [Quartz at Work] Richmond company agrees to pay $625,000 to settle federal civil fraud lawsuit. [U.S. Department of Justice]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 27 – July 1, 2016

Happy (early) 4th of July! I hope you have something fun planned for this long weekend–and all the better if those plans include sunshine, fireworks, and plenty of BBQ. Before the holiday festivities begin, it’s time for our weekly dose of government contracting news and notes. This edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review includes articles about a DoD bribery scandal, the release of the solicitation for the major Alliant 2 IT contracts, a look a the top 100 rankings in federal IT spending and much more. Fourteen people have been charged in connection with a contracting scheme that involved the acceptance of bribes in the form of cash, travel expenses and the services of prostitutes in exchange for steering government contracts. [The United  States Department of Justice] Nearly a decade after a panel of experts recommended major changes to the way the government buys services, the General Services Administration is implementing two significant updates. [Federal News Radio] Vendors now have two months to read through the Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Alliant 2 Small Business RFPs and put together proposals for submission by the Aug. 29 deadline. [Federal Times] More Alliant 2: the biggest IT contract of the decade is about to hit the market with a total ceiling of $50 Billion. [The Daily Caller] New top 100 rankings reveal which firms earn the most from federal IT spending. [fedscoop] The Supreme Court’s Kingdomware decision could affect broader procurement regulations across government, according to the SBA. [Government Executive]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 26-30, 2017

As we June comes to a close, it’s almost time to celebrate our nation’s independence. I hope all of our readers have a happy and safe 4th of July. We will take a little break from the SmallGovCon Week In Review next week but will be right back at it with a new edition on July 14th. In this week’s roundup of government contracting news, a study finds that the win rate for incumbent contractors dropped sharply in 2016, a shady North Carolina contractor was found guilty of double billing the government for close to a decade, the SBA launches a new HUBZone map system, and much more. A new study finds that the incumbent win rate dropped sharply in 2016–from 75 percent to 54 percent.  [Federal News Radio] Alan Thomas was sworn in as Acquisition Chief of the Federal Acquisition Service just two weeks after incumbent Tom Sharpe abruptly resigned. [Government Executive] The owner of a North Carolina-based defense contractor pleaded guilty to billing the federal government for more than $13.6 million in work that was never performed. [The Virginian-Pilot] Changes in the Trump administration’s handling of accelerated payments to small businesses, acquisition assessments and report of agency priority goals are being sought by the Professional Services Council. [Government Executive] According to a GAO report, U.S. Army leaders have not consistently evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of the department’s contracting operations and will be developing new metrics to assess the effects of organizational changes going forward. [SIGNAL] The SBA has launched a new HUBZone map which is the first step in the modernization effort of SBA’s federal contracting programs. [CISION]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 19-23, 2017

Wednesday marked the official start of summer, and I’ll be spending the next few months taking full advantage–grilling out on the deck, enjoying a family beach trip, and more.  Whether you’re at the beach, on the deck, or sitting in an office cubicle, it’s always nice to have some good reading material.  And if you’re here at SmallGovCon, you’re among those who consider government contracting articles to be good reading material. In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, Bloomberg Government takes a look at how “mid-tier” contractors can get squeezed out of government work, the House Small Business Committee approves a bill to get some small contractors paid faster, the Army wasted as much as $28 million on “pretty” uniforms for Afghan soldiers, and more. Two of the federal government’s most important contracts are squeezing out mid-tier companies, according to Bloomberg Government analysis. [Bloomberg Government] The number of multiple award contracts has been dropping since 2012. Can the Office of Management and Budget implement their new streamlined process to continue the trend? [Federal News Radio] NOAA released a special notice declaring ‘there is no draft or final solicitation available at this time” regarding the highly anticipated computing contract draft solicitation worth up to $500 million. [Nextgov] According to one commentator, a recent procurement fraud settlement highlights a need to get tougher on fraudsters. [Townhall] After a series of bid protests from Northrop Grumman dating back to 2015, Raytheon has been re-awarded a $1 billion cyber contract to protect government networks. [Nextgov] Three memos trying to bust contracting myths weren’t enough, as four agencies try to reverse years of industry/government communication problems. [Federal News Radio] Small businesses could be paid faster for work done on some federal contracts under a bill approved by the House Small Business Committee. [SFGATE] Preliminary moves by the White House to ease the moratorium on reviewing federal jobs for outsourcing under the guidelines in Circular A-76 have drawn some skepticism with the Office of Management and Budget. [Government Executive] The Pentagon wasted as much as $28 million over the last decade on Afghan soldier’s camouflage uniforms despite the fact that forests make up only a small fraction of the country’s landscape. [Government Executive]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: June 18 – 22, 2018

Summer has officially started! Let’s get it started off with the SmallGovCon Week in Review. This week’s edition includes a new FAR provision relating to the Kaspersky ban, NIH’s CIO-SP3 HUBZone awards, and much more. DoD, GSA, and NASA issue an interim rule amending the FAR to ban Kaspersky products. [federalregister.gov] NIH makes more CIO-SP3 on-ramp awards. [washingtontechnology.com] House appropriators putting the Defense Department on notice that they’ll be keeping a close eye on future OTA awards. [fcw.com] Former employee of U.S. government contractor in Afghanistan sentenced to 5 months in prison after pleading guilty to accepting illegal kickbacks. [justice.gov] EPA issues direct final rule to amend EPAAR by removing Mentor-Protégé clause requirement. [federalregister.gov] After pleading guilty to government procurement fraud, a former official at Scott Air Force Base sentenced to two years of probation. [stltoday] GSA needs to recognize that contracts with good selection and reasonable access fees are preferred over high fee, limited section vehicles. [federalnewsradio.com]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 13-17, 2016

It’s been a wild week in the world of federal government contracting. Yesterday the Supreme Court issued two major decisions affecting contractors: Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States and Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar.  If you’re a regular SmallGovCon reader, you know that I’ve been following Kingdomware closely for years, and we will have a separate post later today with reaction to Kingdomware from around the country.  But Escobar is an important decision too, so don’t miss out on the coverage of that case. In addition to coverage of Escobar, this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review features a major new rule prohibiting contractors from discriminating on the basis of sex, GSA adding a new category on IT Schedule 70,  the indictment of a former GSA director and many more. The ability to incorporate secretly in the U.S. has enabled criminals to carry out all sorts of crimes – from defrauding school districts to laundering drug money, all while carrying out government-awarded contracts. [The Hill] Contractors are attempting to get on the presidential candidates’ radar well before our new Commander-in-Chief is even elected. [Government Executive] Escobar: An important Supreme Court case involves the False Claims Act, the most important federal law that most people don’t know. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] The inevitable amendments and extensions when a contract ends its period of performance can complicate the process for small businesses with limited resources; the General Services Administration is now trying to address small businesses’ expectations. [Government Executive] The GSA is expected to publish a solicitation August 12 for a new category on IT Schedule 70 related to “Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services.” [fedscoop] There is a growing recognition that the future of federal contracting may involve an “unpriced” schedule that involves evaluating vendors for their capabilities, past performance and overall skillsets, and not on their prices, and then allow price competition to happen at the task order level. [Federal News Radio] A business opportunity specialist for the Small Business Administration explains what the 8(a) Business Development Program is and how government agencies should submit offer letters to get involved. [Washington Technology] The Labor Department has come out with detailed guidance to help federal contractors comply with an executive order that prohibits companies from discriminating against LGBT employees. [Government Executive] The Department of Labor has issued a final rule overhauling the sex discrimination rules governing contractors and subcontractors. [Federal Register] A federal grand jury has indicted a former Director of a General Services Administration division and her husband for fraud and nepotism. [Office of Inspector General] Escobar: The U.S. Supreme Court limited the reach of a whistleblower law designed to ferret out fraud, in a mixed ruling for health-care companies and other government contractors. [Bloomberg Politics] Escobar: The U.S. Supreme Court made it a little harder for lawyers to press whistleblower lawsuits over minor violations of government contract terms. [Forbes] Before we go we would also like to wish all of the dads out there a very happy Father’s Day!
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: June 12-16, 2017

This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day.  I’m looking forward to celebrating with my kids, my father, and my brother (himself the father of three). Happy Father’s Day to all the other dads out there! In this mid-June edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, about 500 new small business partners were added to the GSA 8(a) STARS II vehicle , a USAID Deputy Director pleads guilty to procurement fraud charges, new SBA Administrator Linda McMahon wants to implement more efficient processes for contractors to obtain socioeconomic certifications, and much more. An Army Colonel and his wife have been charged in a bribery scheme, accused of accepting $60,000 in payments from a contractor. [FOX 54] Sometimes, through no fault of a contractor, a contract is terminated anyway.  Here are some steps to prepare for that possibility. [Washington Technology] The DHS has had a tough couple weeks, having lost one major bid protest and canceling a second large procurement–but one commentator writes that the DHS is still an example of an agency “getting strategic sourcing right.” [Federal News Radio] A USAID Deputy Director has pled guilty to charges alleging that he engaged in cronyism and contract-steering, choosing to reward a friend with federal money instead of actively seeking the most qualified and cost-effective bidder. [United States Department of Justice] The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council released a memorandum that temporarily retracts the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, pending a final change removing these provisions from the FAR. [GSA Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy] The two highest-ranking officials in the GSA’s acquisition service are resigning after a shakeup in the service’s structuring that includes new leadership. [fedscoop] A contracting dispute is delaying the OPM’s background investigations processing after the GAO sustained a protest of the award. [Government Executive] SBA Administrator Linda McMahon wants to make SBA’s certification programs “more user-friendly,” saying that the application forms are complex. Amen to that–but McMahon more ominously says that if SBA can’t make the programs more effective and efficient, “those programs have to go.” [Government Executive] The GSA 8(a) STARS II GWAC recently added approximately 500 qualified industry partners during an Open Season. [General Services Administration]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week in Review: June 11 – 15, 2018

In honor of Father’s Day, how about a dad joke? What kind of train eats too much? A chew-chew train! . . . Now that you’ve stopped laughing, let’s dig into the SmallGovCon Week in Review. This week’s edition includes articles about the draft 2019 NDAA, an update on the SAM.gov hack, a proposed FAR amendment, and more. Happy Father’s Day, and have a great weekend! House version of the NDAA contains biggest overhaul to DoD’s commercial buying practices being debated in the Senate this week. [Federal News Radio] The GSA updated procedures for its contractor registration site due to a backlog in the SAM.gov verification process. [fedscoop] DoD, GSA, and NASA proposing to amend FAR to provide guidance to be consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act. [Federal Register] GSA STARS II vendors receiving malicious e-mail spoofs. [APTAC] Next month, regulators will ask contractors for their thoughts on ways to increase use of a federal online portal. [Bloomberg Government] New Jersey couple ordered to pay the United States for overcharging the military. [U.S. Department of Justice] Texas man sentenced to 41 months in prison for unlawfully retaining national defense information. [U.S. Department of Justice]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 5-8, 2016

Welcome back after a hopefully enjoyable long 4th of July weekend! Although this week is a shortened one, there was no shortage of news floating around the county. This week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review looks at the number of suspensions and debarments of government contractors, a proposed penalty for Pentagon contractors trying to game the system, a case of fraud and much more. Government contractors shouldn’t be celebrating that the number of suspensions and debarments dropped in fiscal 2015. [Federal News Radio] The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program rolled out the final version of the high impact baseline, a framework for authorizing third party vendors to host some of the government’s most sensitive data. [FederalTimes] The National Labor Relations Board is preparing to report alleged labor law violations by government contractors. [Bloomberg BNA] One of the biggest questions with the final Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Small Business RFPs is whether to team, but many contractors are finding the options presented in the final RFPs confusing. [Washington Technology] One of the legislative proposals the Senate will debate this week would penalize Pentagon contractors that game the bid protest system. [FederalSmallBizSavvy.com] The Strategic Sourceror explains what the Women-Owned Small Business Program is, and why businesses should become certified. [The StrategicSourceror] A possible 20 year sentence could be handed down to a woman who accepted bribes in exchange for using her company as a “straw” contractor that allowed nonminority-owned firms to circumvent regulations for federally funded transportation projects. [MyCentralJersey.com] A federal whistleblower lawsuit alleging that information technology companies duped the government in order to win money specifically set aside for small businesses has agreed to pay $5.8 million dollars. [Los Angeles Business Journal]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 31-August 4, 2017

Coming off their World Series win last year, my Chicago Cubs are back atop the National League Central division in hopes of repeating as champions.  While we still have few months of the regular season left, I’m hoping for a repeat of October 4, 1908, when a whopping 6,210 fans watched the Cubs successfully defend their 1907 title. But enough baseball for now–this is a government contracts blog, after all.  And since it’s Friday, here is the SmallGovCon Week in Review.  In this edition, a contractor gets 60 months in jail for paying $3 million in bribes, the Federal Times takes a look at potential bid protest reforms, a commentator takes aim at no-bid contracts, and much more. A former government contractor conspired with a contracting official to commit close to $3 million in bribery–and he’s now been sentenced to 60 months in prison. [United States Department of Justice] When you get past the sky-is-falling headline, this article provides a surprisingly nuanced take on potential bid protest reforms.  (See my own take right here).  [Federal Times] The House has voted to continue a seven-year-old moratorium on public-private competition to perform certain federal jobs under the long-standing Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. [Government Executive] NASA has launched a new program to help buyers using its governmentwide IT contract verify that the products they’re buying from are legitimate sources. [Nextgov] With the “use it or lose it” philosophy many federal agencies adopt in Q4, the Federal Times offers some tips for businesses looking to bid on contracts at the end of the government’s fiscal year. [Federal Times] President Trump’s first anti-regulation agenda is winning favor with federal contractors. [Federal News Radio] One commentator calls no-bid contracts an “outrage,” and says that the government needs to renew its focus on competition. [The Hill] A look at what vendors can do to capture year-end money, as well as set the stage for the new fiscal year head as Q4 winds down. [American City & County] An appeal has been filed challenging a major Court of Federal Claims ruling in May, which held that SDVOSB preferences trump AbilityOne at the VA . [Winston-Salem Journal] An ex-GSA contracting official and her husband both received prison sentences for a nepotism conspiracy scheme totaling more than $200,000. [Government Executive] The Pentagon has detailed a plan to shake-up its Acquisition, Technology and Logistics office in the Office of Secretary of Defense with two main goals in mind. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 25-29, 2016

It’s been a very busy week in government contracting with the SBA issuing its final rule on the small business mentor-protege program. It has given us here at Koprince Law a lot to read over and blog about so that SmallGovCon readers can stay abreast of all of the changes packed inside this lengthy document. But as important as the mentor-protege rule is for small and large contractors alike, it’s not the only government contracts news making headlines this week.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, you’ll find articles on proposed new whistleblower protections, opportunities for small businesses at the close of the fiscal year, significant pricing discrepancies under GSA Schedule contracts, and much more. A new bipartisan measure would give subgrantees and personal services contractors the same whistleblower protections currently afforded contractors, grant recipients  and subcontractors. [Government Executive] An advocacy group for small businesses is once again claiming that  giant corporations are reaping billions from federal small business contracts. [Mother Jones] It’s not too late to get in on the fourth quarter government spending bonanza so long as you are a company that has some prospects in the pipeline. [Federal News Radio] DoD’s new procurement evaluation process is moving toward objectivism and a more mathematical system of judgement, as part of an overall shift in favor of Lowest Price Technically Available evaluations.  [Federal News Radio] Officials at five Army components failed to fully comply with rules for evaluating contractors’ past performance when awarding those firms work. [Government Executive] An audit report shows that Army officials did not consistently comply with requirements for assessing contractor performance. [Office of Inspector General] IT reseller contracts present significant challenges for the GSA’s schedules program, according to a GSA IG report. [Office of Inspector General] Nearly half of the Democratic House caucus asked defense authorization conferees to remove “harmful language” narrowing the application of the Fair Play and Safe Workplaces executive order. [Bloomberg BNA] Small businesses can find plenty of opportunities as the curtain comes down on the federal fiscal year. [Government Product News] An update to the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law earlier this month and mandates a presumption of openness, and adds new appeal rights for citizens whose requests are denied. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 24-28, 2017

July has flown by.  Soon, my kids will be back in school, the leaves will start to turn, and the annual craziness at the end of the government fiscal year will be here.  For now, I’m enjoying a few more weeks of summer.  I hope you are too. Before we head into the last July weekend of the year, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this edition: the re-arrangement of personnel over at the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, a new measure attached to the annual defense authorization bill aims to prevent the DoD from spending more on service contracts, the purchase of some “unnecessary” uniforms has led to a criminal probe, and much more. A big shakeup with the OASIS program personnel hasn’t settled down yet, as four more contracting officers are moving to the FedSIM program. [Federal News Radio] NCMA Executive Director Michael Fischetti gives his opinion on what to do with recent data that indicates that contract protests are rising while contract awards are declining. [Federal Times] Lawmakers are looking to reinstate a cap on the DoD’s service contract spending next year, amid concerns the Pentagon has unduly outsourced federal work. [Government Executive] Two strategies have emerged on how change to government procurement, but will Congress go along with it? [Federal News Radio] As the Senate proposes provisions in the defense authorization bill to reduce protests it seems as though they may have missed the point. [Washington Technology] Up to $28 million was wasted on pricey forest-camouflage uniforms for Afghan troops who operate in a largely desert environment. Now a top U.S. oversight official is launching a criminal probe into why the Pentagon authorized the purchase. [McClatchy DC Bureau] A former employee of the Army Corps of Engineers pleaded guilty to soliciting more than $320,000 in bribes from Afghan contractors. [Illinois Homepage.net]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 18-22, 2016

I’m back in the office today after a great workshop with the Kansas PTAC where I spoke about Big Changes for Small Contractors–a presentation covering the major changes to the limitations on subcontracting, the SBA’s new small business mentor-protege program, and much more.  If you didn’t catch the presentation, I’ll be giving an encore presentation next week in Overland Park. And since it’s Friday, it must be time for our weekly dose of government contracting news and notes.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, we take a look at stories covering the anticipated increase in IT spending, the Contagious Diagnostics and Mitigation program is moving into phase 3, the GAO concludes the VA made errors in its contracting of medical exams and more. The overall rate of IT spending will be above $98 billion each year for the next six federal fiscal years. [E-Commerce Times] Tony Scott, U.S. Chief Information Officer, said he will allot time trying to improve how the federal government accepts unsolicited ideas from industry during what may be his last few months as the U.S. Chief Information Officer. [Nextgov] The Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract will reshape how agencies procure telecommunications IT starting in 2020, but agencies need to prepare now. [FedTech] The Homeland Security Department and the General Services Administration put two more key pieces in place under the Contagious Diagnostics and Mitigation program. [Federal News Radio] The U.S. GAO is recommending the VA rebid its contracts for conducting medical exams for thousands of vets applying for disability payments after concluding the VA made several prejudicial errors in its process. [TRIB Live] GSA launches a new special item number that will make it easier for agencies to find and buy the health IT services they need. [fedscoop] The SBA has launched online tutorials for entities seeking SBIR funding. [SBA] Three companies have agreed to pay $132,000 to resolve allegations of falsely self-certifying as small businesses in order to pay reduced nuclear material handling fees. [DOJ]
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Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 17-21, 2017

Greetings from Fargo, North Dakota where I will present a luncheon seminar today on recent developments in government contracting. The seminar is sponsored by the SBA, North Dakota PTAC, and National Contract Management Association, and should be a great event.  It’s wonderful being back in the state where I grew up.  Even though I no longer have family here, I’m looking forward to catching up with an old friend (since elementary school!) this evening. While I enjoy a trip down memory lane, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week in Review.  This week’s stories include a major change in NASA’s SEWP contract, proposed government contracting changes in the House’s version of the 2018 NDAA, Elon Musk offers his two cents on how to improve contracting, a former contractor pleads guilty to accepting kickbacks, and much more. At the end of this month, NASA SEWP will add a tool for contracting officers who want to only get bids from contract holders who are authorized resellers of a product. [Washington Technology] A Florida Republican is pushing for more federal contracts for small businesses owned by veterans, and it’s beginning to gain traction on Capitol Hill. [Sunshine State News] The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2018 NDAA would require, among dozens of additional provisions affecting contractors, that the General Services Administration set up “more than one” Amazon-like online marketplace. [Bloomberg Government] The Trump administration’s latest set of legislative proposals to Congress include several changes on contracting related policies. [FEDweek] Elon Musk offered his advice on NASA’s costly contracting issues and how to bring back a stable incentive structure for contractors. [ars TECHNICA] A former employee of a U.S. government contractor in Afghanistan pleaded guilty to accepting more than $250,000 in illegal kickbacks from a subcontractor, in exchange for assistance in obtaining government contracts. [UPI] A contractor misrepresented its eligibility for government contracts and will now pay $1.1 million over allegations of submitting false claims. [Legal NewsLine] The VA has requested that a judge hold off on proceeding with a ruling that negatively affects IFB SOlutions Inc.’s lab until another case is settled. [Winston-Salem Journal] Two ex-defense contractors face five years imprisonment for lying to Air Force investigators about a contract awarded to their company. [Dayton Daily News] Jane Dowgwillo, president of the national PTAC association, discusses strategies that work when trying to win government business as the federal fiscal year 2017 draws to a close on September 30, 2017. [Government Product News]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 10-14, 2017

I’m back in the office after a great family beach vacation in Florida over the 4th of July. I have a confession to make: I didn’t read a single government contracts article during my trip. My beach reads consisted entirely of popular fiction with no redeeming social or educational value whatsoever. But that was then, and this is now–I’m back, and so is the SmallGovCon Week In Review. This edition includes an update on the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, a DHS contract called out as the “textbook definition of waste,” a contractor accused of a $20 million bribery and bid-rigging scheme, and more. The OMB and Commerce Department have issued guidance on the government’s policy to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States in government procurement. [FEDweek] A leading contractors group has welcomed a bipartisan House bill aimed at curbing agency use of lowest priced technically acceptable contracts. [Government Executive] The Homeland Security Department did such a poor job of monitoring a contractor’s implementation of a new performance management software it was deemed a “textbook definition of ‘waste'” by GAO standards. [Government Executive] The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act is out of committee, and will now proceed to the House floor. [Federal News Radio] The GSA and the VA are making it even easier for VA acquisition professionals to access verified VA’s Vendor Information Pages after signing a memorandum of understanding this week. [GSA] An Army colonel, his wife and a former defense contractor accused of bribery and bid-rigging in an alleged $20 million conspiracy at Fort Gordon have entered not guilty pleas in U.S. District Court. [The Augusta Chronicle] Bloomberg Government analysed the OMB’s spending projections, and is predicting federal government contract obligations to increase by 1.4 percent, from $477 billion in fiscal 2016 to $484 billion, by the end of FY 2018. [Bloomberg Government] Steve Kelman takes a look at ‘microconsulting’ and the potential for its disruption of government contracting. [FCW] Will government transparency take a hit when Congress takes action on acquisition issues aimed at reducing regulations? [Federal News Radio]
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SmallGovCon Week In Review: January 9-13, 2017

There is a lot of excitement brewing here in our neck of the woods. We are cautiously awaiting a potential ice storm that is expected to hit town today and roll through the weekend, our Kansas Jayhawks are in action against Oklahoma State on Saturday and a win will likely seal them as the new number 1 seed in the polls and of course the Kansas City Chiefs have their AFC divisional round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. I’m no fan of cold weather, so I’ll be watching the Jayhawks from Allen Fieldhouse and the Chiefs-Steelers game from the comfort of my living room. While we await “icemaggedon” here in Kansas, it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. This week’s government contracting news includes three updates to the FAR affecting, a new survey shows that small businesses are spending more time and money trying to win contracts, a federal court rules that a large prime’s subcontracting plan was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and more. According to an annual survey, small businesses upped their efforts to bid on federal contracts, reporting a 72 percent increase in time and money devoted to winning a share of the government’s procurement budget. [Government Executive] The GSA is issuing a final rule amending the GSAR to clarify that the ordering-agency task and delivery order Ombudsman has jurisdiction and responsibility to review and resolve fair opportunity complaints on tasks and delivery orders placed against GSA multiple-award contracts. [Federal Register] The DoD won an appeals court decision that denied a demand from a small business advocacy group that they be required to disclose its subcontracting plan submitted under a long-standing Pentagon program. [Government Executive] Proposed revisions of the National Industrial Security Program would add provisions incorporating executive branch insider threat policy and minimum standards as well as make other administrative changes to be consistent with recent revisions to the NISPOM and with updated regulatory language and style. [Federal Register] The FAR Council has issued a final rule to implement regulatory clarifications made by the Small Business Administration regarding the 8(a) Program–including by adding the longstanding “once 8(a), always 8(a)” policy to the FAR. [Federal Register] Federal agencies exceeded $144 billion in improper payments in Fiscal Year 2016, according to the GAO. [Federal News Radio]
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Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: January 8-12, 2018

It’s been a big week here at Koprince Law LLC: we published the first volume in our new series of GovCon Handbooks called Government Contracts Joint Ventures.  After briefly reaching #1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list (okay, in a wonky legal sub-sub-subcategory, but still!), we are pleased to know that the Handbook is being so well received. If you’re an active Koprince Law client, you’ll be getting a free copy in the mail soon. If not, you can get a copy on Amazon, for just $9.99 in paperback or $6.99 in Kindle form. While you wait for your copy of Government Contracts Joint Ventures, why not get up to speed on the latest government contracts news? In this edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we take a look at changes to the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program, two key defense acquisition positions are set to be filled, Alliant 2 protestors are trying their hand in the Court of Federal Claims, Bloomberg Government takes a big-picture look at government spending, and much more.  The SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program is trying to increase the chances of winning government contracts for small-scale contractors. [Multi Briefs] The 2018 NDAA rules governing the acquisition of commercial items should give those making relatively small purchases more choices, and small businesses more hope for getting a piece of the pie. [Federal News Radio] The White House has announced nominations for two key defense acquisition positions at the DoD and Air Force. [Defense Systems] While the coming year looks promising for federal contracting, there are reasons for concern. [The Washington Post] There are many findings in the Rand Corp.’s bid protest study but two things are clear: the bid protest process is not necessarily broken but contract debriefings certainly are. [Washington Technology] (and see my take here). The battle for the next great IT services governmentwide acquisition contract took a bit of an unusual turn when a protest of the Alliant 2 awards was filed in the Court of Federal Claims. [Federal News Radio] A government watchdog says that the Pentagon task force on Afghanistan reconstruction wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money. [The Washington Times] Bloomberg Government takes a look at contract spending by the federal government and how it has changed over the past five years. [Bloomberg Government] Industry leaders told the GSA that the Pentagon’s e-commerce platform should balance efficiency with oversight. [Nextgov] The GSA has plans to formalize cyber rules for contractors and will be accepting public comments about the regulations later this year. [Nextgov]
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