Contracting for Federal Government
We are a verified federal government contractor and we provide legal services for federal contractors.
Call Toll Free: 1.844.350.8343
This year, one major client was a cyber security firm that I helped prepare for work that was contracted out to them. I helped prepare third-tier subcontractor agreements that defined the scope, role, responsibilities, pay, and timeline of engineers so that a cyber security firm could execute its federal contract award.
Federal Contracting to Deliver Goods and Services Faster and Cheaper
The goal of a federal contractor is to provide the federal government with high quality goods and services often faster or for less money than the federal government can do itself. But in doing so, federal contractors have many responsibilities, laws, and regulation to comply with. Doing work for the federal government requires knowledge and compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the Antideficiency Act, and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement.
Contracting Officer Roles Carry Great Responsibilities
The contracting officer has responsibilities to make sure that contracts comply with the federal laws and are based on accurate information. You have to carry out the promises of the contract, adhere to the terms and conditions, and often contract with other businesses to help execute the prime contract.
There are some provisions in your prime contract that must flow down to the subcontracts that you make with other businesses to help you deliver your goods and services; some of these must be written into the subcontracts and others don’t have to be. Whether they are written into those subcontracts or not, they flow down.
Contracting with Fixed Contracts Versus Cost Reimbursement Contracts
There are also contract types that dictate how the government will compensate your business. You might want a fixed price contract, in which you are guaranteed an amount of payment from the government as long as you deliver the goods and services in exchange for having all risk on the you, the contractor, regardless of operating costs, profit or loss. OR you may want a cost reimbursement contract, which sets an estimated cost, but allows flexibility in varying costs within an established ceiling that may not be exceeded without the contracting officer’s approval. The government bears the risk of this type of contract in which there may be differences in expected costs versus actual.
Federal Contracting Compliance
Once you are ready to execute the federal contract it is important to stay on top of costs, delivery, communications, while staying compliant with the contract and the law.
When violations rise to the level of breaking the law, and when corruption arises, how a business handles it can make or break it and it’s ability to acquire future contracts. There may also be investigations, penalties, criminal and civil charges that ensue.
Companies work hard to build a good reputation. They are successful, in part, because of that reputation. To have any allegations of employees or contractors bribing foreign government officials or political figures is prohibited and can tarnish it. Avoiding corrupt practices such as bribery becomes especially important when a company has part of its business overseas and must interact with foreign officials. This is especially true when contractors are hired from other countries to help accomplish the company’s mission and goals. These contractors may have different professional standards due to their country’s business culture from which they come. Corruption can lead to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) serving a subpoena upon the company.
It is valuable to have a law firm dedicated to keeping you knowledgeable about applicable laws and that knows how to respond if a violation should happen. It will also be important to know how likely it is that any instances of bribery occurred. Therefore, as we help the company respond to the federal government’s allegations we will review your practices so that you know what the evidence shows, and the company will be better informed when preparing for the federal government’s determination. Our reviews are considered independent and impartial because none of our representatives working on your investigation are hired or retained by your firm, nor do we represent the federal government. So, no perception of bias or interest in the outcome of the investigation will be perceived.
To help respond to corruption matters we bring in resources where needed, choosing among the established relationships we have with other attorneys and other professionals. Our impressive professionals of various backgrounds will consult with your company, advise, analyze, negotiate, respond, document results—anything you need to get through an investigation. We are also able to evaluate your chances in court if you must litigate your matter.
The antibribery law that governs instances of bribery is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act prohibits the wilfull use of any means of using interstate or international commerce in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that the purpose is to influence, induce, or gain an improper advantage from, a foreign official in his or her official capacity, for a business purpose.
Examples of Bribery
Some examples of antitrust violations include the following:
- A contractor in a company’s subsidiary in India increases the quoted amount of funds needed under the government contract as part of an agreement to give some of those funds to an Indian government official who has promised a future position in his private company.
- An agreement with a foreign government to provide a company’s proprietary information in exchange for money.
Responding to Federal Investigations
When a company receives a subpoena for information from the DOJ it can be daunting and overwhelming. The stakes are high. A DOJ bribery investigation can take years, it can raise costs to a company to: supply information; divert resources, time and focus away from your mission, stagnate growth and reduce profits. We have excellent professionals that will focus on your case and devote their time to guiding your company through the investigative process, getting you results, so that more of your resources can go toward running the company, stabilizing it, and continuing to earn profits. Our professionals are skilled and knowledgeable at auditing, investigations, analyses of data, finding misconduct, and have various backgrounds in law, federal government, and industry. Our professionals can be of significant valuable as we do the heavy lifting to take on the demands of the DOJ investigation.
Preventing Violations Prior to Federal Government Contracting
Risk management is an important part of lessening the risk that a company will be hit with substantial criminal and civil penalties due to bribery. Implementing practices that are tailored to avoid corruption is invaluable to your company. We will help you establish, or strengthen preexisting, compliance policies, procedures, and practices. Although even the best compliance program cannot immunize your company from scrutiny, we will do our best to lessen the risk. Our skilled professionals will provide excellent advice, assistance, and practical best practices that can help safeguard a company as much as possible.
Corruption involving Antitrtust involves unfair, anti-competitive practices in government contracting.
There are three (3) major federal antitrust laws to know about:
Any mergers or acquisitions that lessen competition are against the law. If two social media companies merge and there are no other companies that offer the same products that lessens consumers choices, forcing them to only have one. Because in our country we promote free trade, meaning the freedom to have choices over products and prices, it would be a civil violation. Civil penalties apply if a monopoly happens as a result of a merger or acquisition.
This law makes it illegal to unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade. A company cannot monopolize any product and push out competition. This is not the same as a company dominating the market because its product is better than other company’s product. The federal government is concerned with ensuring that consumers have a variety of choices so that they can choose the best product at the price that suits them. Criminal penalties apply if this law is broken.The Federal Trade Commission Act
Similar to the Sherman Antitrust Act, this law prohibits unfair methods of competition, unfair acts and practices, in interstate commerce. Any violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act can also be a violation of The Federal Trade Commission Act. However, the penalties are civil.
Examples of Antitrust Violations
Some examples of antitrust violations include the following:
- Two competitors enter into an agreement that one of them will take all of one region of customers and the other will take all of the other region of customers, effectively pushing out other competitors.
- A company acquires another company that makes the same product, yet each has some unique characteristics. Now having merged into one company, it is the only one that makes these products in the country. Consumers have no choice but to purchase products from the one company because it has monopolized the market.
- Two or more competitors agreeing to sell goods at a fixed price.
- Bid rigging where a few competitors enter into an agreement to each submit a bid on a government contract, they have predetermined which one will bid lowest to obtain the contract.
Responding to Federal Investigations
If a company enters into an agreement to acquire another company, then under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, there is a requirement to notify the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General prior to the acquisition. Only certain companies are subject to this requirement; generally those that will acquire more than $10,000,000 in voting securities or assets. Additionally, there is a waiting period prior to completing an acquisition while an investigation is ongoing by the federal government, namely the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission. Our firm helps companies get through the demands of the federal government. Our professionals are skilled and knowledgeable at auditing, investigations, analyses of data, and have various backgrounds in law, federal government, and industry, that is valuable in helping to respond and deliver to the federal government.
We believe in prevention. It is important to prevent violations of the antitrust laws. We are skilled in the art of developing strategies for helping to do just that. We will be an advocate and advise the company so that you it can stay ahead of any potential violations as best it can. We can also discuss establishing and implementing a compliance program to reduce the risk of future federal government investigations.
Hire Pawnee A Davis Law Firm PLLC as an outside General Counsel for your next contract: Call Toll Free: 1.844.350.8343
Stay Connected With Us!
Subscribe to get our latest blog content and upates by email.