Government

On August 5, President Biden signed two bills into law that extend to ten years the statute of limitations for civil and criminal enforcement actions for fraud on the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”). These two bills—the PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 and the COVID-19 EIDL Fraud Statute of Limitations Act of 2022—were both passed by Congress with bipartisan support. 
Continue Reading Statute of Limitations for PPP and EIDL Fraud Extended to Ten Years

A federal court filing by a fintech company revealed that it has been under investigation by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in relation to its Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan approval practices for over a year. This rare disclosure of a pre-indictment DOJ investigation warns that the government is refocusing enforcement efforts to the fintechs and financial institutions that administered PPP loans.
Continue Reading Court Filing Reveals that DOJ Is Investigating Fintech’s Administration of PPP Loans

On July 19, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Pre-Draft Call for Comments, seeking feedback on improving its Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) series of publications. The comment period currently is open and scheduled to close on September 16, 2022. 
Continue Reading NIST Wants Your Input – Updating NIST’s Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Guidelines

You might be wondering, “What’s so important about Organizational Conflicts of Interest (“OCIs”)?” The answer is fairly simple: understanding both what causes OCIs and how to mitigate them are critical because unmitigated OCIs can preclude a contractor from (1) competing for future contract work, (2) performing certain tasks under existing contracts, (3) transferring personnel between company organizations, (4) hiring personnel, (5) teaming with certain vendors, and/or (6) entering into certain corporate transactions. Moreover, undisclosed or unmitigated OCIs can create risk of liability under the False Claims Act. In this Part 1 of a three part series, we offer a summary
Continue Reading Organizational Conflicts of Interest – Part 1: A Refresher on OCIs

On June 21, 2022 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Polansky v. Exec. Health Res., 17 F.4th 376 (3d Cir. 2021), allowing the Court to review the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) authority to dismiss qui tam suits brought under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), over objections by the relators. The case invites the high Court to decide two key issues: (1) whether the DOJ has the authority to dismiss qui tam suits where it declined to intervene, and (2) what standard of review applies to such requests for dismissal. 
Continue Reading Supreme Court To Review DOJ’s Authority to Dismiss Qui Tam FCA Suits Over Objections From Relators

Anyone who has been closely following the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program knows the effort has experienced a fair number of complications and delays. For those keeping track of the timeline, DoD first announced the CMMC program in June 2019 (discussed here), released version 1.0 of the CMMC model document in February 2020 (discussed here), and published an interim rule in September 2020 (discussed here). In response to the 850+ comments it received on the interim rule, DoD reviewed and restructured the program into “CMMC 2.0” in November 2021 (discussed here).
Continue Reading Updated Timeline for CMMC Implementation

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector (“OIG”) released a report that studied prior authorization denials and payment denials by Medicare Advantage Organizations (“MAOs”) (the “Report”). While the Report found that the “vast majority” of prior authorizations and payment requests were approved, the Report focused on the finding that MAOs “sometimes” denied prior authorization and payment requests that met Medicare coverage rules claiming that the denials delayed or denied beneficiaries’ access to medically necessary services.

The Report is another example of the OIG fanning the fire of criticism of MAOs by ignoring the overwhelming
Continue Reading HHS OIG Report On Prior Authorizations Under Medicare Advantage

On April 29, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), issued the final rule on Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs (the “Final Rule”). CMS promotes the Final Rule as advancing “CMS’ strategic vision of expanding access to affordable health care and improving health equity in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D through lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and improved consumer protections.” With a few exceptions, the Final Rule is a wholesale codification of the proposed rule. Except as noted below, the requirements of the Final Rule
Continue Reading CMS Issues Contract Year 2023 Final Rule for Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Sponsors

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (the “FAR Council”) currently is considering amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that would elevate the consideration of climate-related risks in Federal Government contracting. The draft proposed rules aim to implement key sections of two Executive Orders (“E.O.s”) signed by President Biden in 2021, both of which call for consideration of climate-related changes to the FAR, including:

  • Requiring major federal suppliers to provide public disclosures regarding their greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related financial risk, and set science-based targets for reduction (E.O. 14030, Sec. 5(b)(i); FAR Case 2021-015);
  • Requiring agencies to consider and

  • Continue Reading ESG for Government Contractors: Climate-Related Risk Considerations in Federal Procurement

    Federal cannabis reform is once again on the move in Congress. On Friday, April 1, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the latest iteration of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. This is Congress’s oldest comprehensive measure, and it aims to decriminalize cannabis on the federal level by removing it from the list of controlled substances while providing certain social reforms to address the detrimental repercussions of the War on Drugs.[1]
    Continue Reading The House Does It Again: MORE Act Ready for Senate Action

    Procurement Collusion Strike Force

    The Procurement Collusion Strike Force, formed by the Department of Justice in 2019, is ramping up enforcement pressures against government contractors. The Strike Force brings together the DOJ Antitrust Division criminal offices, state Attorneys General, and federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Federal Trade Commission.[1] The Strike Force is an effort to crack down on anticompetitive activities in public procurement, which the DOJ views as particularly susceptible to the costs of collusive activity.[2] The Department was already devoting significant resources to public procurement crimes,[3] and the Strike Force represents
    Continue Reading Government Contractors Facing Increased Antitrust Scrutiny

    The inattention some companies pay to their ethics and compliance program never ceases to surprise us. You’d think the frequency of DOJ press releases and prosecutions holding companies accountable for employee wrongdoing would be enough to scare any business into directing more resources at prevention. But alas, many businesses, often over the protestations of their under-resourced Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers (CECOs), continue to think they can get by with a minimalist approach to ethics and compliance. Our experience suggests otherwise.
    Continue Reading DOJ’s Renewed Focus On Corporate Ethics & Compliance Programs Highlights Importance Of Organizational Integrity

    Updated as of May 24, 2022

    The United States is engaging in a new form of warfare. Russia invaded Ukraine just over two months ago and, rather than join the fight directly by sending troops to defend Ukraine, the United States is fighting indirectly by engaging in unprecedented financial warfare against the Russian Federation. The initial export and sanctions actions were swift and severe – but somewhat expected. As the invasion persists, the U.S. Federal Government and individual States also have begun to leverage procurement policy to amplify the financial harm to Russia. This Guide will try to help make
    Continue Reading The Government Contractor’s Guide to (Not) Doing Business with Russia

    On April 18, 2022, the Biden Administration (through the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”)) issued OMB Memorandum M-22-11 (the “Guidance”)[1] relating to the “Buy America” sourcing requirements under the “Build America, Buy America” portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), Pub. L. No. 117-58, §§ 70901-70953. The Act aimed to strengthen Made in America Laws in accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14005, “Ensuring the Future is Made in America by All of America’s Workers” (discussed previously here). In addition to tasking the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council with amending FAR regulations for the Buy
    Continue Reading “Build America, Buy America” – New Guidelines Issued for U.S. Infrastructure Projects

    The Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Office of Hearing and Appeals (“OHA”) rejected a small business government contractor’s 8(a) participation determination appeal as untimely, notwithstanding the contractor’s claim the termination letter at issue was sent to a junk email folder.
    Continue Reading SBA OHA Says Small Business on Notice of Email in Junk Folder: Appeal Untimely

    On March 18, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) issued its long-awaited Final Rule implementing Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (“NDAA FY 2018”), and formally codifying defense contractors’ rights to post-award enhanced debriefings. Contractors have been bound by a Class Deviation implementing these requirements since March 2018, with DOD only issuing its proposed rule in May 2021. Though the Final Rule largely tracks the proposed rule, it does include several important clarifications, and, of course, directly impacts timeliness rules for filing post-award protests of DOD awards at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”).
    Continue Reading The Impact of DOD’s Enhanced Debriefings Rule on Bid Protest Timeliness