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Proposed rule would give new protections to contractor employees that blow the whistle on Government employees

The federal government has an agency called the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) whose mission includes receiving complaints from federal employees of alleged wrongdoing by other federal employees and investigating claims of retaliation against federal employees and job applicants who blew the whistle on their colleagues.  Until now, OSC’s mission has not included receiving […]

You can fight DCAA and Win

Some contractors dread audits by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).  But remember, DCAA does not have the final word.  The contracting officer can reject DCAA recommendations. You can contest DCAA findings. And in some cases an inspector general will audit the auditors. In December 2014, the Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) issued a […]

A Refresher Course on Affirmative Responsibility Determinations

True or false?  What the contracting officer saw on the 11 PM news is irrelevant to her award decision. True or false?  There’s nothing an offeror can do to counter bad publicity relating to an affiliated company. For answers, and for more about affirmative determinations of responsibility, click on this link to read Ken Weckstein […]

Contract awards should not be based on work that an agency knows will not be performed.

Question:  The VA issues a solicitation for construction of a building, plus nine additive construction options (think: signage, landscaping, connecting walkways) and says that award will go to the lowest-priced bidder.  Under those limited facts, which of the following would win the competition? Answer: It depends.  Specifically, it depends on whether the “the agency knows […]

Treasury and Commerce departments relax Cuba export restrictions

The US Government has begun to implement the sweeping changes to US-Cuba relations announced last month by President Obama.  On January 15, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published an amendment to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, easing financial restrictions, and making trade with the island, and travel to it, easier. The […]

There is some truth behind every lie, and that truth can haunt you at sentencing

Scottish author William McIlvanney wrote that “good lies need a leavening of truth.”   But under a recent Second Circuit decision, a testifying defendant can hurt himself with both the lies he tells and the truth he leavens them with. In 2001 or 2002, David Norman received an email from “Desmond,” who said that his family […]