Public Contract Management

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What's New?

Tenth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Minimum Wage Requirement for Federal Contractors Including Guides and Outfitters on Federal Lands
May 7, 2024. The Tenth Circuit has issued an opinion in Bradford v. Department of Labor, rejecting an appeal by an outfitter and the Colordado River Outfitters Association who had sought a preliminary injunction against a Department of Labor requirement that outfitters and guides on federal lands pay a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour issued following President Biden's Executive Order 14,026. The panel's opinion concluded that: "Specifically, the district court did not err in concluding that FPASA [Federal Property and Administrative Services Act] likely authorizes the minimum wage rule because the DOL's rule permissibly regulates the supply of nonpersonal services and advances the statutory objectives of economy and efficiency. Furthermore, we hold that Appellants have not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits that the DOL's rule is arbitrary and capricious."
   Former President Trump had issued Executive Order 18,838 exempting "guides and outfitters operating on Federal lands" from minimum wage requirements.
   Read the Opinion.
   Read the Department of Labor Final Rule on the Minimum Wage.
   Read E.O. 14,026 Issued by President Biden.
   Read E.O. 13,838 Issued by President Trump in 2018.

Biden Administration and GSA Announce New Efforts to Enhance Diversity in Contracting
June 15, 2023. The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced new steps in the Biden administration's efforts to enhance diversity in government contracting initially launched when the president took office in 2021 and issued Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government. Since then, the Office of Management and Budget has issued Memorandum M-22-03 Advancing Equity in Federal Procurement. The GSA has moved forward with implementation through its D2D Data to Decision materials. Most recently in May GSA announced next steps in the overall effort.
   Access the Government-Wide Procurement Equity Tool.
   Access the GSA Supplier Base Dashboard.
   Access the GSA D2d (Data to Decision) "Resources and Tools to Advance Equity in Procurement" Website .
   Read Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-22-03 Advancing Equity in Federal Procurement .
   Read Executive Order 13985 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government .
   Read May 2023 GSA Release on Biden-Harris Administration to Launch New Initiative to Increase Federal Contracting with Small Disadvantaged Businesses.

GAO Issues New Report on Contracting in Response to Disasters
April 13, 2023. The Government Accountability Office has just issued a new report entitled "Disaster Contracting: Action Needed to Improve Agencies' Use of Contracts for Wildfire Response and Recovery" in which it reported the results of a study of data from the "Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) collectively obligated at least a total of $2 billion for wildfire response and recovery from fiscal years 2018 through 2021." GAO Blog The report advances six recommendations for contracting in these agencies in response to wildfires and other emergencies.
   Read the Report.
   Read GAO Blog Summary.

Fifth Circuit Rules Against Biden Administration COVID Immunization Mandate for Federal Contractors' Employees
December 21, 2022. The Fifth Circuit issued an opinion this week in Louisiana v. Biden affirming a district court injunction imposed on President Biden's Executive Order issued in September 2021 and subsequent actions taken by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the Director of the Office of Management & Budget, and the FAR Council mandating that federal contractors ensure that their employees were immunized against COVID 19. Citing the major questions doctrine, the court concluded: "Congress has not spoken clearly to authorize such a dramatic shift in the exercise of the President's power under the Procurement Act. Nor are historical exercises of that power sufficient to demonstrate a long-standing understanding that the Procurement Act could be used in this way. The President's use of procurement regulations to reach through an employing contractor to force obligations on individual employees is truly unprecedented. As such, Executive Order 14042 is unlawful, and the Plaintiff States have consequently demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits."
   Judge Graves dissenting, begining his opinion writing: "The majority conjures up the most extreme and unlikely scenarios to deny the President his authority under the Procurement Act.... Because the executive order here is consistent with what is allowed under the Procurement Act, I respect-fully dissent." He concluded: "The Procurement Act authorizes the President’s action in issuing Executive Order 14042. Therefore, the States fail to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. The district court abused its discretion in granting the injunction."
   Read the opinion.

GAO Reports on Efforts to Address Serious Contracting Issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs
August 11, 2022. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "VA Acquisition Management: Action Needed to Ensure Success of New Oversight Framework," that assesses the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) efforts to create and implement an effective contracting framework and management policies. In its blog post on the new report, GAO explains that: "For over a decade, VA has tried with little success to implement a framework for managing and overseeing how it purchases goods and services. We added VA acquisition management to our High Risk List in 2019." Althouh GAO notes that the VA expects to implement its new framework, which is known as the "Acquisition Lifecycle Framework" this year, GAO also concluded that "VA and its acquisition programs are not well-positioned to successfully implement the new framework because VA plans to implement it before addressing challenges that hindered adoption of its predecessor." Id. The GAO report goes on to make a variety of recommendations for important next steps.
   Read the Report.
   Access the GAO Blog post on this new report.

GAO Issues New Report on Opportunities to Reduce Time-And-Materials Contracts
May 26, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today released a new report entitled "Federal Contracting: Opportunities Exist to Reduce Use of Time-And-Materials Contracts." In releasing the report, GAO wrote: "We looked at the government's use of two contract types that are considered higher-risk because contractors bill by the hour. With hourly billing, contractors could conceivably work less efficiently in order to charge more hours. From FYs 2017-2021, the government spent $139 billion on these contracts. We found agencies sometimes used these contracts when they could have switched to other, lower-risk types. We recommended that agencies look at ways to use other types of contracts." GAO Blog post.
   Read the Report.
   Access the GAO Blog post on this new report.

Senate Considering New Statute to Address Conflicts
May 26, 2022. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has moved S. 3095, the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisitions Act, forward for consideration. Mariam Bakash piece in Nextgov summarizes the development of the legislation and the Senate hearing on the bill is now available.
   Read Nextgov Article.
   View the May 12 Senate Hearing.
   Read S. 3905 Text.

GAO Finds the Most Expensive Weapons System Purchase (F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) Continues to Present Challenges with Costs and Delays
April 26, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today published testimony given before the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives by Jon Ludwigson, Director, Contracting and National Security Acquisitions, entitled "F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Cost Growth and Schedule Delays Continue." The testimony focuses on the fact that "The Department of Defense (DOD) has not yet authorized the F-35 program to begin full-rate production, which is now more than 10 years later than originally planned." The F-35 project is, as GAO explains, the most expensive weapon system program in existence. "It is estimated to cost over $1.7 trillion to buy, operate, and sustain. DOD plans to acquire 2,470 F-35s to replace several other aircraft used by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. As of November 2021, the program has delivered over 700 aircraft of the 3,360 currently planned for the U.S. services, allied partners, and foreign military sales customers." This testimony follows yesterday's publication of a GAO report on the F-35 issues.
   Read the Testimony.
   Read the GSA Blogpost on the Testimony.
   Read the April 25 Report.
   Read the GSA Blogpost on Yesterday's Report.

GAO Calls on EPA to Develop A Lessons Learned Process to Address Responses to Emergencies
March 18, 2022. The Government Accountability Office today issued a new report entitled "Household Hazardous Waste Removal: EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response," suggesting the need for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a "lessons learned" process to apply to its emergency responses such as the wildfires in California. This report is part of a series of materials intended to encourage the development of effective lessons learned programs in all agencies at all levels of government. In recalling this effort, the report notes a series of GAO publications going back to 2002 and also an important report developed by the Center for Army Lessons Learned in 2011. Although the subject matters has varied, the challenges of having effective lessons learned programs have continued and so has the importance of developing such programs.
   The report recognizes some efforts by EPA following the fires in 2018 and 2020, but concludes: "EPA conducts lessons learned activities on a case-by-case basis and does not have a formal lessons learned process in place for wildfire or other disaster responses that specifies when and what lessons learned activities should be conducted. The National Response Framework-which describes how the federal government, states, and others should respond to disasters and emergencies-states that planning for disaster response should include a feedback loop, including through lessons learned processes. Developing a formal lessons learned process that includes key practices, such as tracking corrective actions, will help EPA be better prepared to respond to future disasters, including those that involve removing household hazardous waste." GAO Blog Post on the Report.
   As part of its report, GAO recalled a number of previous reports that it issued with respect to lessons learned efforts. "GAO, Project Management: DOE and NNSA Should Improve Their Lessons Learned Process for Capital Asset Projects, GAO-19-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 21, 2018); Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Share and Prioritize Lessons Learned to Avoid Future Transition Delays, GAO-14-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2013); and NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned, GAO-02-195 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 30, 2002). Center for Army Lessons Learned, [Handbook]Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons (Fort Leavenworth, KS: June 2011)." GAO, EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response," at 4, note 9. The last report in the list was prepared by the Center for Army Lessons Learned but cited by GAO in its recent report.
   The last report in the list, the Center for Army Lessons Learned, "Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons," is a handbook prepared by the Center for Army Lessons Learned, but not just for military use. As the new GAO report noted, "The handbook is intended to assist any government or civilian organization that wants to develop a lessons learned capability." GAO, EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process," at 4.
   Read the Full GAO Report
   Read the GAO Blog Post on the Subject and the New Report
   Read GAO, Project Management: DOE and NNSA Should Improve Their Lessons Learned Process for Capital Asset Projects, GAO-19-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 21, 2018)
   Read GAO, Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Share and Prioritize Lessons Learned to Avoid Future Transition Delays, GAO-14-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2013)
   Read GAO, NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned, GAO-02-195 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 30, 2002).
   Read Center for Army Lessons Learned, Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons (Fort Leavenworth, KS: June 2011).

Justice Department Announces Guilty Pleas by Contractor for Military Housing
December 25, 2021. The U.S. Department of Just announced this week plea agreement in a major fraud cases by a contractor operating housing at military installationed. The DOJ wrote of the: "Global Resolution of Criminal and Civil Investigations with Privatized Military Housing Contractor for Defrauding U.S. Military. Balfour Beatty Communities Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay Over $65 Million in Fines and Restitution for Fraud Scheme." The investigation followed reporting of investigative journalism by Reuters in 2019. The scope and complexity of the crime and the resolution of the case merit quoting the DOJ announcement at length. The remainder of this post provides that information.
   "Today, the Department of Justice announced a global resolution of its criminal and civil investigations into Balfour Beatty Communities LLC (BBC), one of the largest providers of privatized military housing to the U.S. Armed Forces, for defrauding the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy, in connection with a scheme to defraud the U.S. military. BBC pleaded guilty to one count of major fraud against the United States in connection with a criminal information filed today in the District of Columbia. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan accepted the plea and sentenced BBC to pay over $33.6 million in criminal fines and over $31.8 million in restitution to the U.S. military, serve three years of probation, and engage an independent compliance monitor for a period of three years.
   Separately, BBC also entered into a False Claims Act settlement with the United States to resolve its civil liability for $35.2 million. The amounts paid under the civil settlement will be credited against the amounts owed under BBC's criminal plea. 'Instead of promptly repairing housing for U.S. servicemembers as required, BBC lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses,' said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. 'This pervasive fraud was a consequence of BBC's broken corporate culture, which valued profit over the welfare of servicemembers. Today's global resolution sends a clear message to companies that if they do not maintain adequate compliance programs, voluntarily self-disclose misconduct, and fully cooperate with the government, they will pay a price that outweighs the profits they once reaped.' According to court documents, BBC was a diversified real estate services company, headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, that operated privatized military housing communities at 21 U.S. Air Force, 18 U.S. Navy, and 16 U.S. Army bases across the United States, in which tens of thousands of service members and their families lived. BBC earned fees for the various phases of development and management of each housing community, from design and construction to ongoing community management and maintenance, and service members paid their living allowance, known as Basic Allowance for Housing, to BBC to live in these communities.
   BBC's fees for the ongoing property management and maintenance of its military housing communities generally consisted of a base fee, paid to BBC monthly, and performance incentive fees, paid to BBC quarterly or semi-annually. Performance incentive fees were only payable upon the approval of the relevant service branch. To obtain the incentive fees, BBC was required to submit to the service branches proof that it had satisfied performance objectives related to, among other things, maintenance of the housing communities and resident satisfaction. The service branches relied on BBC's submissions in deciding whether to approve the payment of relevant performance incentive fees.
   According to court documents, from around 2013 to around 2019, BBC employees, including former community manager Stacy Cabrera (who pleaded guilty to related charges on April 21) and former regional manager Rick Cunefare (who pleaded guilty to related charges on June 9), and others, falsified information so that BBC's incentive fee requests falsely reflected that BBC had met performance objectives. In reality, BBC did not meet those objectives in many of the quarters during that time. These objectives primarily related to maintenance and resident satisfaction at various military housing projects. Specifically, BBC employees altered or manipulated data in property management software and destroyed and falsified resident comment cards to falsely inflate these metrics and, ultimately, to fraudulently induce the service branches to pay performance incentive fees which BBC had not earned.
   As a result, according to court documents, there were lengthy and unnecessary delays in the resolution of maintenance issues to the detriment of servicemembers and their families. In addition, the military service branches were provided an inaccurate assessment of the state of BBC's military housing communities and were unable to assess, and potentially correct, BBC’s performance.
   A number of relevant considerations contributed to the department's criminal resolution with BBC, including the nature and seriousness of the offense, the pervasiveness of the misconduct among BBC's employees and at multiple military installations, and the state of BBC's compliance program and the progress of its remediation, including the fact that BBC's compliance program and internal controls have not been fully implemented or tested to demonstrate that they would prevent and detect similar misconduct in the future.
   As part of BBC's plea agreement, BBC agreed to cooperate fully with the United States in all matters relating to the conduct covered by the plea agreement and other conduct under investigation by the United States, to self-report violations of U.S. federal criminal law, and to continue to implement a compliance and ethics program designed to effectively detect and deter violations of U.S. anti-fraud laws throughout its operations.
   'In defrauding our country's military services, BBC took advantage of their unique position as a military housing provider and put greed and personal profit above our servicemembers,' said FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate. 'Today's guilty plea reaffirms the FBI, along with our partners, are committed to preventing such disgraceful crimes and will work tirelessly to bring those who engage in this type of crime to justice.'...
   'This resolution follows the prior entry of guilty pleas by two BBC managers. In April 2021, Stacy Cabrera, a former community manager of BBC, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In June, Rick Cunefare, a former regional manager of BBC, pleaded guilty to major fraud against the United States. DOJ Press Release.
   Read the DOJ Press Release Announcing the Plea Agreement.
   Read the Plea Agreement.
   Read the Criminal Information Filed by DOJ in the Case.
   Read Reuters Article U.S. military landlord pleads guilty to fraud, resolving probe - Justice Dept. By Kanishka Singh.
   Read the 2019 Reuters Investigative Journalism Piece that Prompted the Investigation.

General Services Administration Announces Final Testing on Beta Version of Acquisitions.gov Website
December 16, 2021. The General Services Administration (GSA) today accounced the uploading of the final test Beta version of the new Acquisitions.gov website. In its release on this new site, GSA said: "Acquisition.gov will be offering a BETA version of the site with enhanced features and functionality to help the acquisition workforce do their jobs more effectively. This is the final public testing site of our new website. During this beta phase, we will be fine-tuning the site's content, navigation, and layout based on the feedback of users like you."
   Access GSA Beta Version of Acquisitions.gov.
   Read the GSA Announcements of the New Acquisitions.gov Site Information.

Resources on Government Shutdowns and Contracting
September 30, 2021. Current media reports suggest that it is likely Congress today will vote to avert a government shutdown with a continuing resolution for at least a period of time. Even so, there have also been reports concerning the impacts of shutdowns on public contracting for both the government and the contracting organizations. In 2019, the Congressional Research Service prepared a "CRS Legal Sidebar" entitled "How a Government Shutdown Affects Government Contracts." More recently, in June 2021, CRS produced a useful document "Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources." Of course, shutdowns have affected grants as well as contracts, so at about the same time CRS produced a "CRS INSIGHT" report on "Issues Raised by a Federal Government Shutdown: Grants to State and Local Governments and the COVID-19 Pandemic."
   Also in 2019, the Professional Services Council, an industry group, provided a set of recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget entitled "Industry Recommendations for Mitigating the Effects of a Lapse in Appropriations." A quite different nonpartisan public interest group, the Partnership for Public Service, on the impacts of the 2018-19 shutdown entitled Shutdown Letdown.
   In 2019 the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations' staff produced a report for the committee entitled: The True Cost of Government Shutdowns. It explained that: "This report documents the cost to the American taxpayer of the last three government shutdowns. Federal workers were furloughed and unable to work for 54 days during those three government shutdowns. The Subcommittee surveyed 26 federal agencies and found the last three government shutdowns cost taxpayers nearly $4 billion--at least $3.7 billion in back pay to furloughed federal workers, and at least $338 million in other costs associated with the shutdowns, including extra administrative work, lost revenue, and late fees on interest payments. Agencies reported to the Subcommittee that the combined total of furlough days during all three shutdowns was about 14,859,144, representing an estimated 56,938 years of lost productivity for those agency employees. These figures, however, do not include data from some of the largest government agencies, which were unable to provide complete shutdown cost estimates to the Subcommittee, including the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Justice, and Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency." Executive Summmary.
   Read the "How a Government Shutdown Affects Government Contracts."
   Read the "Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources." Report.
   Read the "Issues Raised by a Federal Government Shutdown: Grants to State and Local Governments and the COVID-19 Pandemic" Report.
   Read the Senate Committee Staff Report.
   Read the "Industry Recommendations for Mitigating the Effects of a Lapse in Appropriations" Letter to OMB.
   Read the Partnership for Public Service Report.

GAO Issues Report on Lessons Learned in COVID-Related Contracting
July 30, 2021. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "COVID-19 Contracting: Opportunities to Improve Practices to Assess Prospective Vendors and Capture Lessons Learned." Noting the major scale of contracting over from 2020 to May 2021, the report found that one the interesting aspects to this activity was that a large number of the contractors had never contracted with the federal government before. "As of May 31, 2021, agencies obligated $61.4 billion for contracts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies cancelled $4 billion in obligations, in some cases due to contract terminations. The proportion of obligations to vendors with prior federal experience government-wide was 88 percent but varied by agency (see figure). In calendar year 2020, agencies awarded about 5 times as many contracts to vendors without prior federal contracting experience for COVID-19, as compared to contracts awarded overall in preceding calendar years." The GAO offered ten recommendations to the contracting agencies, one of which was to enhance the collection of lessons learned in the course of COVID-related contracting.
   Read the Report.
   Read the GAO Blog Post on the New Report.

Department of Defense Cancels JEDI Contract and Begins Again Its Effort to Develop a Cloud-Based System
July 6, 2021. The Department of Defense has announced that it is canceling the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Contract, Solicitation No. HQ0034-l 8-R-0077 ("RFP"), and restarting the contracting process. In its announcement today, DOD wrote: "Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) canceled the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud solicitation and initiated contract termination procedures. The Department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs. The Department continues to have unmet cloud capability gaps for enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services at all three classification levels that work at the tactical edge, at scale -- these needs have only advanced in recent years with efforts such as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Acceleration (ADA) initiative." DOD Press Release.
   The contract had been awarded to Microsoft, but the protests have been pending in litigation, with challenges brought by Amazon. Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the Court of Federal Claims issued a preliminary injunction in February 2020 and an opinion in that case the following month halting further action pending the full outcome of Amazon Web Services v. United States (See the posting for March 7 on this webpage.) Amazon alleged not only technical errors in the process and the foundation for the award decision, but also that President Trump had biased the process. In its complain in the case, Amazon charged that: "These errors, however, were not merely the result of arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking. They were the result of improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ('Amazon'), and owner of the Washington Post. DoD's substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President's repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, "screw Amazon." Other protests had been filed even before the award by Oracle and IBM.
   At the same time it announced its termination of the previous contract, DOD said that it was initiating a new process with a new name for the project. "The Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) will be a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. The Department intends to seek proposals from a limited number of sources, namely the Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department's requirements. However, as noted in its Pre-Solicitation Notice, the Department will immediately engage with industry and continue its market research to determine whether any other U.S.-based hyperscale CSPs can also meet the DoD's requirements. If so, those Department will also negotiate with those companies." This decision not to render the award a winner-take-all process responds to some of the many criticisms levelled against the JEDI contracting process. It also seeks to untangle the clash between Amazon, Microsoft, and the federal government, while also leaving the door open to including other possible bidders in some aspects of the new contracting effort.
   Read the DOD Press Release Announcing the Change.
   Read the Opinion and Order.
   Read the Complaint.

Supreme Court Issues Major Pubic Contracting and Civil Rights Case that Was Reported Overwhelmingly as a First Amendment Case
June 21, 2021. Chief Justice John Roberts has written for the majority of the Supreme Court in a case striking down Philadelphia's attempt to ensure that foster child placement agencies did not discriminate against same sex couples. Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas concurred in the judgment, but did not join the majority opinion. Although this case was primarily reported in the news media as First Amendment religion case, it is far more complex and considerably broader than that in terms of the way the opinion reads with respect not only to the issues of faith-based contractors, but also in terms of the interests of the government as contractor and in its responsibilities to enforce civil rights law. The Philadelphia case focused heavily on interpreting the Court's previous rulings maintaining that faith based actions are still subject to otherwise neutral and generally applicable legal requirements.
   The Court's treatment of what is necessary for government to show that the requirements were made pursuant to neutral and otherwise generally applicable requirements also suggested a significant limits on the language of the Court's earlier Obergefell opinion, concerning the rights of same-sex couples and their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
   Read the Opinion.

State Chief Information Officers, State Procurement Officials, and Center for Internet Security Release Report Calling for Full Integration of Cybersecurity Into Public Contracting Policy and Process
May 13, 2021. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) along with the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) and the Center for Internet Security (CIS) have published a report entitled" Buyer Be Aware: Integrating Cybersecurity into the Acquisition Process. As the press release at the unveiling of the report indicated, the report stressed the importance of ensuring that "cybersecurity is an integral part of the acquisition process." In issuing the report, the participants stressed that this active attention to cybersecurity has for too long been an afterthought and has not created the kind of ongoing relationships between those doing the contracting, including managing those contracts, and officials charged with addressing cyber risks, and particularly state chief information officers (CISOs). This report comes in the wake of the so-called "supply chain attack" known as Solar Winds that has been so devastating to both public and private sector organizations.
   As noted above, the centerpiece of the report was the need for attention to the many situations in which cybersecurity has been outsourced to private firms. "[C]ybersecurity functions in state government are increasingly being outsourced, however, confidence in third-party vendors is decreasing. Additionally, major cyber incidents in the past year have called into question the security of commonly used software and the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of supply chain security." The report stresses that: "Neither the acquisition process nor cybersecurity are trivial components of state government which makes it all the more important that the two are integrated. Anything less than full integration and acceptance of the importance of the two quite simply puts states at a much higher risk."
   Read the Report.
   Read the Press Release on the Report.

President Biden Executive Order Mandating $15 Minimum Wage for Federal Contractor Employees
April 27, 2021. President Biden issued Executive Order to "increasing the hourly minimum wage paid by the parties that contract with the Federal Government to $15.00 for those workers working on or in connection with a Federal Government contract."
   Read the Order.

President Biden Issues Buy America Executive Order
March 10, 2021. President Biden issued Executive Order 14005 entitled Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers. The order seeks to address the use of the waiver process under the existing domestic purchasing policies that had become a source of frustration and a way around the policies. It also revoked 3 orders issues by the previous administration and superceded two others. It also called for new policy from OMB as well as a review of existing executive branch agencies policies on "Buy America" matters.
   Read the Order.

HHS Grants Management Quality Services Management Office Takes on Task of Government-Wide Grants Management Policy Development
March 10, 2021. The Grants Management Quality Services Management Office (QSMO) of the Department of Health and Human Services has taken on the task of developing and implementing federal grants management policy. As the office explains on its website: "HHS is the designated agency for the Grants Management Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) to transform government-wide grants management end-to-end. Created by the Office of Management and Budget in Memorandum M-19-16 - PDF, Centralized Mission Support Capabilities for the Federal Government, QSMOs are tasked with offering and managing a marketplace of systems and service solutions to improve customer satisfaction, automate processes, modernize technology, standardize data and related processes, and achieve efficiencies in time and money related to the grant management life cycle. The transformation of grants management is anchored by the Grants QSMO 2030 Vision to empower and enable applicants, recipients, and federal awarding agencies to efficiently and effectively deliver on mission. This vision is reinforced by three pillars; to ease burden and drive efficiencies; respond to customer needs; and leverage data as a strategic asset. Grants management centers on a government-to-citizen interaction that is core to the delivery of an agency's mission. In fiscal year 2020, the federal response to COVID-19 increased government-wide grant funding from $750 billion to over $2 trillion through supplemental funding, in addition to other federal financial assistance payments and loans. Despite recent progress to standardize business processes, data and adopt shared solutions, there remain significant opportunities for the Grants QSMO to improve the user experience and service quality for applicants, recipients, and agencies; streamline and modernize the expansive and aging grants system landscape; and better leverage the buying power of the government to access high quality shared solutions and reduce costs.
   Access the HHS Grants Management Quality Services Management Office Website.

Trump Administration Issues New Executive Order Limiting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training by Federal Contractors or Grant Recipients or Federal Officials Directing Training
September 24, 2020. President Trump has issued a new executive order entitled "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" that places restrictions on the types of diversity, equity, and inclusion training and programs that can be used by federal contractors and also those receivnig federal grants. Just how the sweeping language will be implemented by federal agencies. For the documents and updates to follow, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

GAO Presents New Report on COVID-19 Contracting
July 29, 2020. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report entitled "COVID-19 Contracting: Observations on Federal Contracting in Response to the Pandemic" that considers the $17.8 billion in federal contracting from the beginning of pandemic to June 11, as well as the key policies under which that contracting was carried out. This follows a report issued by GAO in June on "COVID-19: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts." The report focuses on the four agencies that managed some 85% of the COVID-19 contracting in this period, including the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA). It also examines the statutes that these agencies used to find flexibility for contracting under the current conditions.
   In introducing its most recent report, GAO explained that: "Our prior work has found that contracts play a key role in federal emergency response efforts, and that contracting during an emergency can present a unique set of challenges as officials can face a significant amount of pressure to provide critical goods and services as expeditiously and efficiently as possible." These reports included: Disaster Contracting: FEMA Continues to Face Challenges with Its Use of Contracts to Support Response and Recovery (2019); 2017 Disaster Contracting: Actions Needed to Improve the Use of Post-Disaster Contracts to Support Response and Recovery (2019); and 2017 Disaster Contracting: Action Needed to Better Ensure More Effective Use and Management of Advance Contracts (2018).
   Read the COVID-19 Contracting: Observations on Federal Contracting in Response to the Pandemic Report.
   Read the COVID-19: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts Report.
   Read the "Disaster Contracting: FEMA Continues to Face Challenges with Its Use of Contracts to Support Response and Recovery" (2019) Report.
   Read the "2017 Disaster Contracting: Actions Needed to Improve the Use of Post-Disaster Contracts to Support Response and Recovery" (2019) Report.
   Read the "2017 Disaster Contracting: Action Needed to Better Ensure More Effective Use and Management of Advance Contracts" (2018) Report.

GAO Issues New "Best Practices" Guide on Cost Estimating and Assessment
March 12, 2020. The U.S. Government Accountability Office Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Program Costs.
   Read the Best Practices Guide.

Court of Federal Claims Issues Injunction Against U.S. in JEDI Contract Bid Protest by Amazon
March 7, 2020. Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the Court of Federal Claims has issued a preliminary injunction, preventing federal officials from moving forward with its so-called "Services Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure ("JEDI") Contract, Solicitation No. HQ0034-l 8-R-0077 ("RFP"), a massive defense department contract for cloud computing services, which had been awarded to Microsoft Corporation. She actually issued her ruling in Amazon Web Services v. United States on February 13, but the Opinion and Order was only released yesterday in order to give parties an opportunity to have the court redact "source selection, proprietary or confidential material" from the opinion. This particular ruling focuses on the government's evaluation of the technical feasibility of a "price scenario" under one of the evaluation factors of the bids.Id. at 9.
   This ruling addresses one of the bases on which Amazon protested the JEDI bid. The court has not yet dealt with the claim that, in addition to a variety of errors in the assessment of the bids: "These errors, however, were not merely the result of arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking. They were the result of improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon"), and owner of the Washington Post. DoD's substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President's repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, "screw Amazon." Basic justice requires reevaluation of proposals and a new award decision. The stakes are high. The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends." Amazon Web Services v. United States, Complaint, at 2.
   Read the Opinion and Order.
   Read the Complaint.

Amazon Files Bid Protest on JEDI Contract in Court of Federal Claims
December 9, 2019. Amazon Web has filed a 103 page bid protest in the Court of Federal Claims Against the awarding of "Services Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure ("JEDI") Contract, Solicitation No. HQ0034-l 8-R-0077 ("RFP"), to Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft").
   Read the Complaint.

The "809 Panel" Concludes Its Work, Leaving 98 Recommendations for Improved Contracting at DOD and Elsewhere
August 1, 2019. The Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations, better known as as the Section 809 panel, has concluded its work with a series of reports providing 98 recommendations for improved contracting at the Department of Defense, but with the added suggestion that many of the recommendations can and should be implemented more broadly. The panel is known as the "809 panel" after Section 809 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114-92), as amended by Section 863(d) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328), which created the independent Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations.
   Although the panel went out of business in July, the key reports will be on the website through 2019. After that, they will be archived on the Defense Technical Information Center website.
   Read the Roadmap to the Section 809 Panel Reports Published in February 2019..
   Read Volume 3, Part 1 of the Panel's Report Published in January 2019.
   Read Volume 3, Part 2 of the Panel's Report Published in January 2019.
   Read Volume 3 Summarized Recommendations of the Panel's Report Published in January 2019.
   Read Volume 2 of the Panel's Report Published in June 2018.
   Read Volume 1 of the Report Published in January 2018.
   Read the May 2017 Interim Report.
   Access the Defense Technical Information Center website.

Arizona Governor Criticized Company but Does Not Control Goodyear Arizona Development Agreement
July 9, 2019. The Arizona governor has critcized the Nike company for a decision on withdrawing an athletic shoe design from the market and called upon the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw any incentives for a development agreement for a new manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona, but the state is not a party to the development agreement. Press reports suggest that the state agency indicated that there might be some Arizona Competes Fund incentives for the company that may be removed, but there is no offical announcement of that by the agency and nothing related to that matter is mentioned in development agreement itself. The Goodyear City Council approved that agreement at its meeting on July 1.
   Read the development agreement.
   Read Resolution of Approval.
   Read the Goodyear Council Action Report.

GAO Publishes Information on Federal Government Contracting in FY18
May 1, 2019. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "Contracting Data Analysis: Assessment of Government-Wide Trends," along with some additional materials in the form of a blogpost and an infographic summarizing the report findings. The "Watchblog" post begins by pointing out that: "In fiscal year 2018, the federal government spent more than $550 billion on these contracts, an increase of more $100 billion from 2015. This increase is largely driven by spending on national defense." That amount represents, according to GAO, about 40% of the federal government's discretionary spending.
   Read the GAO Report Contracting Data Analysis: Assessment of Government-Wide Trends.
   Read GAO's "Watchblog" posting on Federal Contracting for FY 18.

GAO Issues Report on Efforts to Reduce the Burdens of the "DATA" Act
May 1, 2019. The GAO has just published a report on the results of its examination of the pilot programs led by OMB under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act)to reduce the reporting burden on grantees and contractors. The effort to centralize and standardize data was the broad goal of the DATA act, but it also called for reducing burdens. As the report explains that is a challenge and the results to this point are mixed.
   Read the Report.

GAO Issues New Report on Post-Disaster Contracting
April 24, 2019. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "2017 Disaster Contracting: Actions Needed to Improve the Use of Post-Disaster Contracts to Support Response and Recovery." Following the responses to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the 2017 California wildfires, GAO notes, federal agencies obligated at least $5 billion in post-disaster contracts. The report examines 23 contract from FEMA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Coast Guard in 2017 and found a variety of challenges. Among its conclusions, GAO found that: "Without addressing planning challenges, agencies may miss opportunities to award contracts to local businesses in the disaster area to the extent feasible and practicable, which could help jump-start the local economy." Summary, p. 1.
   Read the GAO Report.

Speech Pathologist Sues Challenging Texas Contract Requirement that the Contractor Will Not Boycott Israel
December 18, 2018. A speech pathologist who was a longtime contractor with a Texas school district has brouht suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas challenging a 2017 state statute that required contractors to promise that they do not and will not boycott Israel claimin a violation of the First Amendment. Bahia Amawi had been contracting with the Pflugerville, Texas School District since 2009, but was required for the first time in September 2018 to sign an addendum to the contract affirming that she does not and will not while the contract is in force boycott Israel. Her complaint alleges that the requirement is "viewpoint discrimination that chills constituitonally-protected political advocacy in support of Palestime" in violation of her freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. Amawi v. Pflugerville Ind. School Dist., Complaint and Jury Demand, at 2. Her complaint also names Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read HB 89.

U.S. Indicts Three Men on Fraud and Other Charges Related to $8 Billion Troop Support Contract and a $984 million contract tin Afghanistan
December 8, 2018. The U.S. Department of Justice together with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) have announced the indictment of Abul Huda Farouki and two others on "two counts of major fraud, one count of conspiracy to violate the restrictions on doing business with Iran, four counts of substantive violations of those restrictions, and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering" in connection with an $8 Billion Troop Support Contract and a $984 million contract tin Afghanistan. DOJ explained that "Farouki was the chief executive officer of Anham FZCO, a defense contractor based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which maintained offices in Dubai, UAE, Jordan and the United States. Mazen Farouki was the President and Founder of Unitrans International Incorporated, an international logistics company with close ties to Anham. Defendant Salah Maarouf operated a company that procured goods and services for Anham." The indictment alleges that: "The indictment alleges that the defendants schemed to defraud the Department of Defense in connection with the SPV-A contract by submitting bids that contained knowingly false estimates of the completion dates for the warehouses and by providing the government with misleading photographs intended to convey that Anham's progress on the warehouses was further along than it actually was. Specifically, the indictment alleges that, in February of 2012, the defendants and others caused Anham employees to transport construction equipment and materials to the proposed site of one of the warehouse complexes to create the false appearance of an active construction site. Members of the conspiracy then photographed the site, provided the photographs to the Department of Defense, and then largely deconstructed the staged construction site." Press release. It also alleges violations of the Iran Sanctions Act and money laundering.
   Read the Indictment.
   Read the Justice Department Press Release Describing the Case.
   Access the SIGAR Website.

GAO Report on the Small Business Procurement Scorecard
October 4, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entiled "Small Business Administration: Actions Needed to Improve Confidence in Small Business Procurement Scorecard." Explaining the rationale for the scorecard, GAO wrote that: "The federal government, through contracts, purchased more than $440 billion worth of goods and services in fiscal year 2017. To help small businesses access these federal contracting opportunities, Congress set a requirement that the federal government allocate at least 23 percent of its contracted spending to small businesses. In turn, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses provide the federal government with quality, performance, innovation, agility, and competitive pricing and are a key source of job creation. Each year, SBA produces a Small Business Procurement Scorecard (scorecard) to measure how much contracted spending federal agencies allocate to small businesses and whether the federal government is meeting its goals for awarding contracts to small businesses. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (2016 NDAA), Congress directed SBA to take steps to revise the scorecard methodology for measuring small business procurement. The 2016 NDAA also included a provision for us to evaluate how well the scorecard methodology accurately and effectively measures federal agencies' compliance with small business contracting goals and how well. it encourages federal agencies to expand small businesses' procurement opportunities. This report discusses (1) revisions to the Small Business Procurement Scorecard methodology and results of the revised fiscal year 2017 scorecard, as well as the extent to which SBA plans to evaluate the effects of revisions; (2) the extent to which SBA's revised scorecard methodology uses relevant and reliable information and SBA publishes accurate scorecards; and (3) views of selected federal agencies and industry stakeholders on the extent to which SBA's revised scorecard methodology may encourage agencies to expand small business procurement opportunities." Id. at 1-2.
   Read the Report.

GAO Issues New Report Assessing Implementation of Services Advisory Panel Recommendations
Septmber 13, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "Federal Acquisitions: Congress and the Executive Branch Have Taken Steps to Address Key Issues, but Challenges Endure." This report traces its origins back to the Service Acquisition Reform Act (SARA), Section 1423 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-136(Nov. 24, 2003), which required the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) to create a Service Acquisition Advsory Panel. The statute required the panel "to review laws and regulations regarding the use of commercial practices, performancebased contracting, the performance of acquisition functions across agency lines of responsibility, and the use of Governmentwide contracts." Sec. 1423(a) That panel issued its report in 2007 and GAO followed that with a report calling for an implementation plan for the more than 80 recommendations made by the panel. The 2007 report focused on six key issue areas, including: requirements definition, competition and pricing, contractor oversight, acquisition workforce, federal procurement data, and samll business participation. The current report finds some progress in most of these areas, but identifies continuing challenges.
   Read the GAO "Challenges Endure" Report.
   Read the 2007 Acquisition Advisory Panel Report.
   Read the December 2007 GAO Report on Federal Acquisitons: Oversight Plan Needed to Help Implement Acquisition Advisory Panel Recommendations .
   Access P.L. 108-136.

GAO Report on 2020 Census Finding Challenges and Risks with Developing, Testing, and Securing IT Systems
September 3, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report on the status of preparations for the 2020 census which found continuing "challenges and risks with developing, testing, and securing IT systems." Summarizing its findings, the GAO found four general areas of significant difficulty, including "schedling management," "contractor oversight," "IT cost growth," and "cybersecurity." As to scheduling, the report concludes that because work is already so far behind, "Continued schedule management challenges may compress the time available for the remaining system and integration testing and increase the risk that systems will not function as intended." Contract oversight is a significant problem in part because "33 of the office’s 58 federal employee positions were vacant." The cost for information technology is a major factor since this particular census is expected to dramatically expand the use of mobile devices and Internet connections in addition to other computer technology. The report finds that the IT costs have "grown from $3.41 billion in October 2015 to $4.97 billion in December 2017—an increase of $1.56 billion. This increase was due, in large part, to the addition of technical integration services and updated costs for other major contracts (such as the contract for mobile devices). The amount of cost growth since the October 2015 estimate raises questions as to whether the Bureau has a complete understanding of the IT costs associated with the 2020 Census." Last, but perhaps most important among its findings were significant problems in the area of cybersecurity. The report found that "as of June 2018, the Bureau had identified nearly 3,100 security weaknesses that will need to be addressed in the coming months. Because the 2020 Census involves collecting personal information from over a hundred million households across the country, it will be important that the Bureau addresses system security weaknesses in a timely manner and ensures that risks are at an acceptable level before systems are deployed." Again, the plans to use mobile devices for the census dramatically increases the complexity of cybersecurity and risks with respect to data control.
   Read the GAO Report.

Not About Contracts, but Interesting New GAO Congressional Testimony on Grants Management
July 25, 2018. In testimony before the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives, Statement of Michelle Sager, Director Strategic Issues, synthesized the results of studies from 2005 to 2018 on issues in grants management. As the summary explains, "GAO has identified challenges to federal grants management in its work spanning several decades. These challenges include: (1) Streamlining: Grants management requirements that are duplicative, unnecessarily burdensome, and conflicting require agencies to direct resources toward meeting them and can burden recipients of federal grants. GAO has reported on initiatives to streamline these requirements and address challenges grantees encounter throughout the grants lifecycle; (2) Transparency: The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) required the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of the Treasury, and other federal agencies to increase the types of information available on federal spending, including grants. GAO has reported on progress in standardizing and expanding reported data, but has found inconsistencies with the completeness and quality of the reported information; (3) Collaboration and consultation: Collaboration, particularly information sharing, is an important factor in effective grants management. GAO’s work on interagency grants management reform initiatives found that inadequate ongoing communication with grantees sometimes resulted in poor implementation and prioritization of initiatives; (4) Duplication, overlap, and fragmentation: Agencies’ grants management practices, such as requirements to avoid duplication and overlap among grants before awarding them, can help agencies achieve cost savings and result in greater efficiencies in grant programs; and (5) Internal controls and oversight: GAO’s work has identified weaknesses in grants oversight and accountability. For example, GAO has identified opportunities for agencies to more consistently close out grants when the grantee’s period of performance has ended to ensure that grantees have met all requirements and identified opportunities to redirect or return unused funds."
   Read the GAO Document.

GAO Issues Report on Contractor Workforce
April 17, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report entitled "Civilian and Contractor Workforces," which examines a Department of Defense Analysis of the relative costs of government versus contractor workforce as required by Congress. "DOD concluded that for the 21,000 federal civilians and service contractors compared, neither federal civilians nor service contractors were predominately more or less expensive, with the costs being dependent upon the function being performed, location, and level of expertise." p. 7.
   Read the GAO Testimony.

GAO Testifies before Congress on Management Challenges of Continuing Resolutions and Other Budget Uncertainties
February 6, 2018. Heather Krause, the Director of GAO's Strategic Issues unit testified today before the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, explaining a variety of management challenges that arise from the use of multiple continuing resolutions and other budget uncertainties such as short term shutdowns. These include delayed contracts and grants, delays in hiring for important positions, and inefficiencies due to repetitive work on grants, contracts, and other spending related activities that must be done several times for shorter durations than would normally be the case.
   Read the GAO Testimony.

Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria Contract with Whitefish Energy First Cancelled
October 30, 2017. Ricardo A. Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico. announced yesterday that he is moving to cancel a controversial contract with Whitefish Energy for post storm repair of the island's electric grid. Ricardo Ramos, director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, has announced that he will terminate that contract. That action follows a statement issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a letter from the House Energy Committee raising concerns about the contract. The agreement is between the company and the Pureto Rico Electric Power Authority which is a government corporation and an instrumentality of Puerto Rico.
   Read the Contract.
   Read the FEMA Statement Regarding the Contract.
   Read the letter from the House Committee on Natural Resources.

OMB Reverses Course on Policy Requiring Contractor and Employer Reporting of Pay in EEO Filings and Opponents Consider Legal Challenges
October 8, 2017. Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum on August 29, 2017 to the Acting Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Victoria Lipnic, that ordered a stay on reporting by contractors and other employers of equal employment data on employers that under a policy issued in 2016 by the previous administration that required pay data to accompany other information in order to address equal pay act concerns. Rao insisted that it was necessary to stop the implementation of the current policy and reexamine it. She wrote in part: "In this context, under 5 CFR 1320.10(f) and (g), OMB may review an approved collection of information if OMB determines that the relevant circumstances related to the collection have changed and/or that the burden estimates provided by EEOC at the time of initial submission were materially in error. OMB has determined that each of these conditions for review has been met." Memo, at 1. The National Women's Law Center and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights have demanded information about the basis for the OMB action, including filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that called for all of the information on the formal record as well as communications involving participants in the decision process and those outside the administration with whom they communicated on the matter.
   Read Memorandum From OIRA Direct Naomi Rao to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic.
   Read FOIA Request to OMB by National Women's Law Center and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

GAO Issues Report on Independent Government Cost Estimates for Service Contracts
May 17, 2017. The Government Accountability Office has published a report entitled "Service Contracts: Agencies Should Take Steps to More Effectively Use Independent Government Cost Estimates" that was prepared at the requires of Senator Claire McCaskill, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The report explains that: "In fiscal year 2015, federal agencies obligated more than $270 billion, or 62 percent, of the government’s contract spending on service contracts to help achieve their missions. Independent government cost estimates (IGCE)—the government’s best estimate of a contract’s potential costs—are an important tool throughout the process of planning and awarding service contracts. The IGCE supports efforts to ensure that the cost of meeting the government’s requirements for the good or service being acquired are known. IGCEs are also used by contracting officials to compare offerors’ proposed prices, determine whether proposed contract prices are reasonable, and to support contract price negotiations." Cover letter, p. 1. The report examined 76 contracts from six different federal departments to provide the foundation for its analysis.
   Read the GAO Report.

President Revokes Obama Administration Executive Orders on Government Contracting
March 29, 2017. President Trump has issued an executive order 13782 revoking order issued by President Obama, including "Executive Order 13673 of July 31, 2014, section 3 of Executive Order 13683 of December 11, 2014, and Executive Order 13738 of August 23, 2016."
   Read President Trump's Executive Order 13782 on Government Contracting.
   Read Executive Order 13673 of July 31, 2014.
   Read Executive Order 13683 of December 11, 2014.
   Read Executive Order 13738 of August 23, 2016.

Federal District Court in Colorado Certifies Class Action in Suit Brought by ICE Detainees Against Contractor
March 10, 2017. Detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a Colorado detention facility operated under contract by GEO Group have brought a class action suit against the contractor on several grounds related to forced labor that was allegedly either uncompensated or paid at one dollar per day. That case has now been certified by Judge John Kane of the U.S. District Court for Colorado and will proceed.
   Read the Order Certifying the Class Action Suit.
   Read the Complaint in the Case.

GAO Reports on Government Wide Contract Trends
March 10, 2017. The Government Accountability Office has just released its latest report entitled Contracting Data Analysis: Assessment of Government-Wide Trends covering FY 2011 through FY 2015. The report introduction explains: "In fiscal year 2015, federal agencies obligated over $430 billion through contracts for goods and services, accounting for almost 40 percent of the government’s discretionary spending. . . . This review is part of our ongoing efforts to support congressional oversight of federal contract spending and was performed under the authority of the Comptroller General. This report addresses defense and civilian agency trends in contracting, specifically (1) the kinds of products and services acquired; (2) the rate of competition; (3) the use of various procurement methods and contract types; and (4) the categories of vendors providing products and services." Id., at 1-2.
   Read the Report.

GAO Finds Progress but Additional Steps Needed on Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform
December 7, 2016. In testimony before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, GAO Director of Information Technology Issues David A. Powner said that: "The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agencies have takensteps to improve federal information technology (IT) through a series of initiatives and, as of October 2016, had fully implemented about 46 percent of the approximately 800 related recommendations made by GAO (a 23 percent increase compared to the percentage reported in 2015). However, additional actions are needed." Explaining that the federal government would likely spend some $89 billion on IT in 2017, these are, he said, important issues to address. He was referring in particular to implementation of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform provisions of the Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, Pub. L. No. 113-291, div. A, title VIII, subtitle D, 128 Stat. 3292, 3438-3450 (Dec. 19, 2014). The reference to the GAO 2015 report was to the GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO maintains a high-risk program to focus attention on government operations that it identifies as high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.
   Read the Testimony.
   Read the GAO 2015 Report.

District Court Blocks Obama Executive Order on Contractor Employee Pay and Conditions
October 26, 2016. Federal District Judge Marcia A. Crone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of provisions of Executive Order 13,673 on "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" issued by President Obama in 2014 and implemented in August of 2016 by final rules and agency guidance. The executive order required reporting by bidders and contractors with respect to decisions against them related to a variety of fair labor legislation (see below). The Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas alleged that the order and its implementing rules amounted to a "blacklist" of potential contractors and violates the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Constitution. They also argue that the order and rules are preempted by other federal labor legislation. In her memorandum and order in Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas v. Rung, Civ. Action No. 1:16-CV-425, Judge Crone wrote: "[T]the court GRANTS the requested injunction in part and preliminarily enjoins implementation of those portions of Executive Order 13673, as implemented by the FAR Rule published at 81 Fed. Reg. 58562 (Aug. 25, 2016), and the DOL’s Guidance regarding the FAR Rule, incorporated by reference therein, 81 Fed. Reg. 58654 (Aug. 25, 2016), that impose new reporting requirements regarding labor law violations, as defined therein, on government contractors and subcontractors and that prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements regarding matters arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and torts based on sexual assault or harassment." Memorandum and Order, at 1-2.
   The executive order required in pertinent part that: "For procurement contracts for goods and services, including construction, where the estimated value of the supplies acquired and services required exceeds $500,000, each agency shall ensure that provisions in solicitations require that the offeror represent, to the best of the offeror’s knowledge and belief, whether there has been any administrative merits determination, arbitral award or decision, or civil judgment, as defined in guidance issued by the Department of Labor, rendered against the offeror within the preceding 3-year period for violations of any of the following labor laws and ExecutiveOrders. . . ." The order then goes on to list the standard labor relations laws, including "(A) the Fair Labor Standards Act; (B) the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; (C) the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act; (D) the National Labor Relations Act; (E) 40 U.S.C. chapter 31, subchapter IV, also known as the Davis-Bacon Act; (F) 41 U.S.C. chapter 67, also known as the Service Contract Act; (G) Executive Order 11246 of September 24, 1965 (Equal Employment Opportunity); (H) section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (I) 38 U.S.C. 3696, 3698, 3699, 4214, 4301–4306, also known as the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; (J) the Family and Medical Leave Act; (K) title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (L) the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; (M) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; (N) Executive Order 13658 of February 12, 2014 (Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors); or (O) equivalent State laws, as defined in guidance issued by the Department of Labor."
   Read the Memorandum and Order Granting Preliminary Injunction.
   Access the complaint in Associated Builders and Contractors of Souteast Texas v. Rung.
   Read Executive Order 13,673 "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces."
   Read Executive Order 13,738 amending E.O. 13,673.
   Read the Federal Acquisition Regularion Final Rule implementing E.O. 13,673.
   Read the Department of Labor "Final Guidance" for implementation of E.O. 13,673.

Fourth Circuit Reinstates Abu Ghraib Suit Against CACI
October 21, 2016. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reinstated a case originally brought against CACI, a Virginia corporation and U.S. government contractor, alleging a range of torture and other illegal actions directed at detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq following the U.S. invasion of the country. The decision issued today in Al Shimari v. CACI Premier Technology ruled that illegal actions by a contractor were actionable and rejected a ruling that the suit was barred. The suit was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. The Fourth Circuit presented a detailed presentation of the facts in the case in a 2014 opinion known as "Al Shimari III," so that opinion is provided below as well as today's ruling.
   Access the October 21 ruling reinstating the case.
   Access the June 30, 2014 Fourth Circuit opinion that discussed the facts in detail.
   Read the Amended Complaint in the case.
   Read the original complaint in the case .
   Access the Center for Constitutional Rights Webpage on the case will all of the filings.

GAO Analyzes Contracting Under International Free Trade Agreements
September 27, 2016. The Government Accountability Office has released a new report on government contracting requirements under the General Agreements on Tarrifs and Trades and various free trade agreements. The scope of the GAO report “encompasses six agreements: (1) the 1994 GPA and the revised GPA, (2) the government procurement chapters of FTAs covering the top five FTA partner countries (the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], (3) the South Korea-FTA, (4) the Colombia-FTA, and (5) the Australia-FTA)."
   GAO explained at the outset that: “Government procurement constitutes a significant potential market for international trade, with an estimated annual global size of $4.4 trillion, and the United States has played a key role in developing trade agreements that partially open government procurement markets, which are often closed to foreign competition, according to officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Specifically, the United States and other countries have made commitments under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and under U.S. free trade agreements (FTA) that open government procurement to foreign suppliers, ensure that the process is conducted transparently and without bias, and provide foreign suppliers with the same rights as domestic ones. In procurements that are covered by these agreements, foreign suppliers are able to compete for certain U.S. government contracts alongside U.S. suppliers, and U.S. suppliers are able to compete for certain foreign government contracts in accordance with the processes established in the agreement.” p. 1
   The report first examined the elements of the agreement. “We found that the government procurement agreements we reviewed generally follow the same structure and contain nine common elements that we identified; however, they sometimes differ in their specific commitments. The nine common elements we distilled from our analysis of the text include provisions that relate to transparency, nondiscrimination, defining scope and coverage, exceptions, procurement procedures, criteria for procurement decisions, supplier challenges, ethical standards, and changes and further improvements. The method by which procurement is conducted, such as the processes by which procurement is announced, information is released, and a winning bidder is selected, is contained in many similar provisions across the six agreements we reviewed. However, there are some notable differences, in areas such as statistical monitoring, environmental protection, and the supplier challenge process. “ p. 8. The report then goes on to address the range of coverage and key issues, including the subnational coverage of the agreements with particular attention to the states.
   Read the Report.
   Access the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, 1868 UNTS 194 (1994).
   Access Revised Agreement on Government Procurement, Annex to the Protocol Amending the Agreement on Government Procurement of GATT.
   Access North American Free Trade Agreement .
   Access United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement .
   Access United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.
   Access United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement .

Suggested Improvements in Management & Operating Contracts at the Department of Energy.
September 7, 2016. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report concerning Management & Operating contracts at the Department of Energy which account for some $19 billion in spending for that agency. The report found three significant problems areas: "(1) Limited competitive environment. About half of DOE’s fiscal year 2015 M&O contract spending was on contracts that were awarded noncompetitively or that received one offer—situations that the Office of Management and Budget identified as high-risk contracting activities. In addition, M&O contracts include longer terms than other federal contracts, so they are competed less frequently; (2) Broad scopes of work. DOE officials said that M&O contracts have broad scopes of work and use a work authorization system that allows DOE to quickly add or change requirements—sometimes within weeks; and (3) Closer relationship. M&O contracts and DOE management practices contribute to a closer relationship between M&O contractors and the government. M&O contractors often develop a vision and strategy for a site, according to DOE officials, and the agency uses contractors’ internal audits and other contractor-generated information for oversight." GAO, "Department of Energy: Actions Needed to Strengthen Acquisition Planning for Management and Operating Contracts," GAO-16-529, August 2016, Highlights.
   Read the Report.

DOJ Announces Reduction in Use of Contracted Corrections Facilities
August 18, 2016. Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates issued a memorandum to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons entitled "Reducing our Use of Private Prisons." At the same time she issued a press release. She concludes that release as follows: "Taken together, these steps will reduce the private prison population by more than half from its peak in 2013 and puts the Department of Justice on a path to ensure that all federal inmates are ultimately housed at bureau facilities."
   Read the Memorandum.
   Read the Press Release by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates.

GAO Testifies on Space Acquisitions Challenges for DOD
March 9, 2016. The GAO provided testimony on the complex area of acquisitions for the federal government.
   Read the Testimony.

State Supreme Court Rules Taxi Drivers Employees and Not Contractors
December 11, 2015. The Oregon Supreme Court has issued its opinion in Broadway Cab v. Employment Department, SC S06271, affirming a lower court decision upholding an Administrative Law Judge ruling that the company's drivers are employees and not contractors so that the company must make its pay unemployment insurance taxes.
   This ruling comes just two months after the Oregon Board of Labor and Industries Advisory Opinion on October 15 concluding that Uber Drivers are employees rather than independent contractors. That advisory opinion relied on Oregon law but also referred to an Administrative Interpretation issued by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor on July 15 on Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors. The WHD has a website on the subject of misclassification. It also has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Internal Revenue Service on ways for the two agencies to collaborate to enhance compliance with legal requirements and reduce misclassification. The relevant documents are provided below.
   Read the Oregon Supreme Court opinion.
   Read the BOLI Advisory Opinion of October 15.
   Read the BOLI press release.
   Read the U.S. Dept of Labor Administrative Interpretation of July 15.
   Read the DOL/IRS MOU on misclassication of employees as contractors.
   Access the U.S. DOL Wage and Hour Division Website on Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractors.

GAO Issues Report on Bridge Contracts that Take an Agency Through During New Contracting Bidding
October 14, 2015. One of the continuing issues for agencies is how to handle situations in which a current contract is due to expire before a new contract is ready. One option is the use of what are termed bridge contracts. Among the findings were two that are particularly interesting. "The agencies included in GAO’s review—the Departments of Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services, and Justice—had limited or no insight into their use of bridge contracts, as bridge contracts were not defined or addressed in department-level guidance or in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)." Second, GAO found that The 73 bridge contracts GAO analyzed varied widely in characteristics such as the type of service and length of contract. Almost half of the contracts were used to procure either professional management services or information technology services. Although bridge contracts are typically envisioned as short-term, GAO found that some bridge contracts spanned multiple years, potentially undetected by approving officials. For example, of the 29 contracts GAO reviewed in-depth, 6 were longer than 3 years. . . . [A]n Army bridge contract for computer support services was initially planned as a 12-month bridge, but because of subsequent bridges, ultimately spanned 42 months."
   Read the report.

Arizona Governor Terminates Prison Contract Following Kingman Riots
August 28, 2015. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey held a news conference this week to announce that he had ordered the contract with Utah-based Management & Training Corp., for prison operations following the issuance of an Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) report on the Kingman riots that took place in July. In announcing his actions, Governor Ducey termed the findings about MTC and Kingman "frightening, disturbing, and completely unacceptable." (Press Release)
   The ADC report summary explained: "The most significant findings of fact include: An MTC culture of disorganization, disengagement, and disregard of ADC policies and fundamental inmate management and security principles; MTC failure to conduct critical stafftraining and substantial dilution and compression of contractually mandated staff training, and its withholding of these failures and deficiencies from ADC; MTC failure to promptly and effectively quell the riots allowed the inmate rampage and property destruction to continue for many more hours; The targeted destruction of MTC property together with the near absence of destruction of inmate personal property and the absence of inmate-on-inmate violence, strongly suggest that the riots were more likely precipitated by inmate dissatisfaction with MTC’s operation of the prison than by anger mong the inmates themselves; Over one-third of MTC performance deficiencies identified five years earlier following the escape of three inmates from the same facility were identified again by the ADC Assessment Team." Arizona State Prison-Kingman, p. 1.
   This last finding concerned a failure to address two-thirds of the deficiencies identified by the ADC in a 2010 Cure Letter sent to MTC following exploration of issues at the Kingman facility that followed an escape by three inmates in July 2010.
   Read the Governor's Press Release.
   Read the Report Summary.
   Read the Main Body of the Report.
   Access the Exhibits Supporting the Report.
   Read the 2010 Cure Letter.
   Access the Arizona Department of Corrections Webpage on the Kingman Assessment Report.

GAO Examines Veterans Affairs Interagency Agreements
July 23, 2015. Michael Mackin, Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management for the Government Accountability Office released testimony prepared for a hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives focused on interagency agreements (IAA) and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. He began by noting that VA spends some $19 billion per year for goods and services. He explains, "In summary, we found the extent of VA’s use of IAAs is unknown, and in some cases did not comply with policy; there are also opportunities to improve VA’s management of FFRDCs. VA needs to strengthen its oversight of these arrangements to ensure that its needs are being met and it is getting what it pays for." Id. at 1-2.
   Read the Testimony.
   Read the Full Report.

New GAO Report Examines HUBZone Contracting Preferences Program
February 13, 2015. A new report from the Government Accountability Office entitled "Small Business Contracting: Opportunities Exist to Further Improve HUBZone Oversight" examines the progress made to enhance oversight of the federal contracting preferences provided to businesses in HUBZones (Historically Underutilized Business Zones), but also examines the effectiveness of communications and processes for maintaining current status of businesses that qualify for those preferences.
   The program was enacted originally as the HUBZone Act of 1997, Pub. L. No. 105-135, Title VI, 111 Stat. 2592, 2627-38 (1997). The report explains that: "The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program, which was created in 1997. The program’s purpose is to stimulate economic development in economically distressed communities by providing federal contracting preferences to small businesses located in HUBZone areas that employ residents of the areas. As of June, 2014, there were more than 18,500 HUBZones and about 5,200 firms in the program." The report also explains with respect to the preferences that: "The contracting preferences that a certified HUBZone firm (one that meets program requirements) can receive include limited competition awards such as sole-source and set-aside contracts. A certified firm also can receive a price evaluation preference of 10 percent in full and open competition if the apparent successful offering firm is not a small business. In addition, HUBZone firms can receive awards without set-asides (through open competition), through a small business set-aside, or a set-aside through other programs. For example, a HUBZone firm that also qualifies as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business could receive an award under the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program. In fiscal year 2013, federal agencies awarded prime contracts valued at about $4 billion to HUBZone firms that were certified as of June 2014. Federal agencies are responsible for trying to meet an annual statutory goal for awarding contracts to HUBZone firms (3 percent of all prime contracts and subcontracts)."
   Read the Report.
   Access HUBZone Act of 1997.
   Access the Small Business Administration HUBZone website.
   Access the SBA HUBZone Maps.

OMB Issues Rules for Implementation of Uniform Administration Requirements for Federal Grants
January 26, 2015.The Office of Management and Budget issued Interim Final Rules on December 19, 2014 to implement the new "Guidance on 'Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance)'" which was published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on December 26, 2013. These materials were developed through the work of the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR). Comments on the Interim Final Rule are due no later than February 17, 2015. However, OMB made the Interim Final Rules operative as of December 24, 2014, so they are already in effect.
   The Uniform Guidance and implementation rules will "supersede and streamline" a number of OMB circulars that have for years covered federal grants. The OMB explains "Final Guidance has been issued that, upon implementation, will supersede requirements from OMB Circulars A-21 [Cost Principle -- Educational Institutions], A-87 [Cost- Principles State and Local Governments], A-110 [Administrative Requirements -- Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations], and A-122 [Cost Principles -- Non-Profit Organizations](which have been placed in 2 C.F.R. Parts 220, 225, 215, and 230); Circulars A-89 [Administrative Requirements -- Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance], A-102 [Administrative Requirements -- State and Local Governments] , and A-133 [ Audits of States, Local Governments and Non-Profit Organizations] and the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up."
   These are broad and complex changes. They govern grant accounting and administration. They are also very much aimed at performance assessment, data collection, and dissemination. They are supposed to provide one uniform set of policy and to simplify and provide greater flexibility in administration. They trace back to a presidential executive order, a memorandum, and OMB memorandum. The OMB and the COFAR have established a number of pieces of information on them, including webinar material which is available below as well as FAQs. It is helpful to view at least the first of the webinar postings for a general sense from the Director of the OMB Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM) of what this is about and what the changes are expected to accomplish. See the posting on my web page for that link.
   Read the Interim Final Rules December 19, 2014.
   Read the Final Guidance Document December 26, 2013.
   Access the Council on Financial Assistance Reform with COFAR Training Webinar Information.
   Read the OMB Frequently Asked Questions.
   Executive Order on Reducing Improper Payments.
   Read the Presidential Memorandum on Administrative Flexibility, Lower Costs, and Better Results for State, Local, and Tribal Governments.
   Read the OMB Memorandum of July 2013 Next Steps in the Evidence and Innovation Agenda.
   Read the Metrics for Uniform Guidance evaluation.

GAO Seeks to Address the Massive Use of Subcontractors in So-Called Pass-Through Contracts
December 22, 2014. The GAO has been engaged in a study of the massive issue of Pass-Through contracts in which prime contractors use subcontractors as a major part of contract performance with particular concern for excessive charges in pass-through contracts. The concept is based on a 2007 statute that explained: "[E]xcessive pass-through charges as charges thatoccur when a contract or or subcontractor adding no, or negligible, value to a contract or subcontract charges the government profit for work performed by a lower-tier contractor or subcontractor." pp. 4-5. The report adds that "This does not include charges for direct costs of managing lower-tier contracts or subcontractors and the overhead and profit based on such direct costs." p. 5, n. 9. The report goes on to explain changes made in the Federal Acquisition Regulations as a result and follow on legislation but notes that guidance and oversight have not kept pace with the policy changes.
   Read the Report.

GAO Issues Report Critical of Personal Services Contracts
October 29, 2014. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report focused on USDA, but that discusses problems with the administration of personal services contracts. The reports raises questions about compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and OMB policies in that area.
   Read the Report.

GAO Testifies on Its Healthcare.gov Report
October 1, 2014. In July William T. Woods, Director, Acquisition & Sourcing Management, in the Government Accountability Office (GAO), testified before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. His statement was entitled Healthcare.gov: Contract Planning and Oversight Practices Were Ineffective Given the Challenges and Risks. His testimony coincided with GAO’s release of its report on the subject entitled Healthcare.gov: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management.
   Read the Woods Statement.
   Read the GAO Report.

President Issues Minimum Wage Executive Order for Contractors
February 20, 2014. Following on his commitment in the State of the Union speech to do so, President Obama has issued Executive Order 13658 establishing minimum wage increase requirements for federal government contractors.
   Read the order.

Supreme Court Revisits Interstate Compacts as Contracts
June 16, 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court has explained anew its treatment of interstate compacts as contracts and the principles for interpreting them. The case arose because of a claim by a Texas Water District that it had rights to Oklahoma water, but Oklahoma had already committed its water resources. The Red River Compact involves Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. A Texas water district claimed that it could reach inside the state of Oklahomoa to divert water to Texas, but Oklahoma statutes blocked that effort. The unanimouse Court in an opinion by Justice Sotomayor, began with the premise that: "Interstate compacts are construed as contracts underthe principles of contract law. Texas v. New Mexico, 482 U. S. 124, 128 (1987). So, as with any contract, we begin by examining the express terms of the Compact as thebest indication of the intent of the parties, see also Montana v. Wyoming, 563 U. S. ___, ___, and n. 4, ___, (2011) (slip op., at 5, and n. 4, 17). . . ." Terrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, No. 11-889, Slip op. at 11.
   Read the opinion.

GAO Issues New Report on Interagency Contracting
January 29, 2013. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report on Interagency Contracting.
   Read the summary.
   Read the report.

GAO Report Finds Issues in Implementation on Recent Requirements on Large Sole Source Contracts
December 15, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on requirements from the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that there be changed to the FAR that make clear the requirements for justifications of sole source contracts over $20 million. The GAO studied implementation of those requirements and found that while there was some decline in the number of such contracts, there was still inadequate compliance with the new requirements in part because of a lack of clarify .
   Read the report.
   Read the Highlights Page of the Report.

GAO Report on "Federal Efforts to Assist Small Minority Owned Businesses" in Federal Contracting
September28, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on efforts to assist small minority owned businesses. The report finds that small businesses generally account for 19.4% of the $539 billion in federal contracts in FY 2011 and that minority owned small businesses account for 34.3% of the small business total. It studies practices in the federal agencies that account for some 70% of small minority owned business contracting.
   Read the report.

GAO Issues Report on Agencies and Their Chief Acquisitions Officers
July 27, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on Chief Acquisitions Officers and their agencies. The report notes, among other things that: "Most agencies have appointed Chief Acquisition Officers (CAO) in accordance with two of the three requirements of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (SARA):that the CAOs be political appointees and have agency Senior Procurement Executives report directly to the, However, few CAOs have acquisition management as their primary duty; other areas of responsibility included financial, information, and human capital management." Highlights, p. 1. The report also notes that although it is important not only for the CAOs but also for others involved in the contracting process, most of the agencies have not developed clear statements of the roles and responsibilities of the CAOs in their various policy documents.
   Read the report.

The State of Federal Policy on Inherently Governmental Functions
June 16, 2012. After years of discussion in Congress and in the Obama administration on the subject of the contracting out of during the George W. Bush administration of functions that were either inherently government by almost any definition or of functions that are so essential to the effective performance of government agency missions as to have all the appearence of inherently governmental work, the Obama White House had issued the final policy letter as well as a follow up technical correction. The policy which was originally issued as a draft policy letter in March 2010 was finalized in September 2011 entitled Policy Letter 11-01 "Performance of Inherently Governmental and Critical Functions" with a correction to that document issued in February 2012. The Congressional Research Service had published several versions of a report on the development of the Obama policy, the last of which was prepared in January 2011 and provided useful explanations as to the nature of the debate and the continuing discussion of the types of functions that have been at the center of it.
   Read OFPP Policy Letter 11-01.
   Read the Correction to Policy Letter 11-01.
   Read the draft policy letter issued in March 2010.
   Read the Congressional Research Service report "Inherently Governmental Functions and Other Work Researved for Performance by Federal Government Employees: The Obama Administration's Proposed Policy Letter.

Senate Armed Services Committee Releases Report on Counterfeit Parts in DOD Supply Chain
March 28, 2012. The Senate Armed Services Committee has released a report entitled "Inquity into Counterfeit Electronic Parts in the Department of Defense Supply Chain," S.Rpt. 112-167, which found over 1,800 counterfeit parts in just a sample of the supply chain checked for a two year time span. For those cases in which the investigators then followed the supply chain, they found that some 70 percent came from China. Id. at ii. The parts identified went into missiles, aircraft, and helicopters. The report finds that not only do the counterfeit parts jeopardize mission effectiveness and safety, but they also cost a great deal of money to rectify once detected in existing DOD weapons systems and equipment.
   This investigation began a year ago, but, committee chair, Carl Levin (D., MI) and ranking member John McCain (R., AZ) cosponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 which was signed into law in December 2011 aimed at addressing the problem of counterfeit parts. That amendment became §818 entitled "Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Electronic Parts" which requires action by the Department of Defense to detect and deter the problem. It also amends §2320 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code to increase criminal penalties for those engaged in trafficking in counterfeit goods or services.
   The Senate investigation followed in the wake of studies by the Department of Commerce, "Defense Industrial Base Assessment: Counterfeit Parts" (January 2010) and the Government Accountability Office on that subject in 2010, "Defense Supplier Base: DOD Should Leverage Ongoing Initiatives in Developing Its Program to Mitigate Risk of Counterfeit Parts."
   Read the Armed Services Committee Report.
   Read the Committee Press Release.
   Access the Commerce Department 2010 Report.
   Access the 2010 GAO report.
   Access P.L. 112-81 National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012.

GAO Reports Significant Challenges to General Services Administration Project to Build a Government-Wide Contract Reporting Hardware and Software System
March 16, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has release a report entitled Federal Contracting: Effort to Consolidate Governmentwide Data Systems Should Be Reassessed. The report examines the General Services Administration's project to build a single government-wide data a system for federal contracting. The report notes that costs have escalated dramatically since the project was launched because of additional hardware and software costs but also because of requirements added by recent legislation. At present, budget cuts mean that there will bec continued delays and increased costs. The report calls for a reconsideration of the business case to support the program. This conclusion will likely engender questions because GAO reports in the past year have highlighted areas of overlap and duplication among various agencies in a number of areas.
   Read the Report.

Government Accountability Office Publishes 2012 edition of Its Program Evaluation Guide
February 2, 2012. The GAO has released the 2012 edition of Designing Evaluations guide to program evaluation. It is a useful basic resource paper with helpful references.
   Access Designing Evaluations.

GAO Releases Report on Dealing with Associated Risks in Service Contract Management
January 9, 2012. The Government Accountability Office has released a report entitled Managing Service Contracts: Recent Efforts to Address Associated Risks Can be Further Enhanced.
   Access the GAO Report.

GAO Report Sharply Critical of Administration Claims to Savings from Contracting Improvements
November 15, 2011. The GAO has issued a report entitled "Federal Contracting: OMB's Acquisition Savings Initiative Had Results, Improvements Needed." but the contents of the report were substantially more critical than that title might suggest. It examined the policies and performance reported by the Office of Management and Budget from the start of the contracting improvement efforts in 2009 on. It found a variety of difficulties with the initiatives, but was particularly critical of the claims of savings from the policies. In its summary of the report, GAO said: "While OMB reported that agencies reduced contract spending by $15 billion from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2010, this analysis was based on governmentwide spending trends and not solely due to the savings initiative. GAO found billions of dollars in overstated and questionable savings, reported by civilian agencies in early fiscal year 2011. . . . Further, the Defense Department's 2010 savings, reported in August 2011, stemmed from a broader, ongoing effort to reduce the department's budget -- and were not necessarily tied to contract savings. . . . Although OMB has not reported on the overall results of efforts to reduce the use of new high-risk contracts, GAO found that in fiscal year 2010, agencies decreased use of those contracts, as a share of base spending, by less than 1 percent, well short of the 10 percent goal." Report Highlights page.
   Read the Report.

GAO Memorandum Addresses Prior Experience and Past Performance as Evaluation Criteria in Decisions About Contract Awards
October 19, 2011. The Government Accountability Office has released a memorandum report on the subject of how agencies can and do use prior experience or past performance when they are making decisions about contract awards. While this report focuses specifically on construction contracts, the subject of past performance is an ongoing issue of discussion and debate.
   Access the memorandum.

NGO Reports Contracting Out Costs More Than It Saves in Many Areas
September 13, 2011. A nonprofit group, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has published a study finding that expanded contracting out has tended to cost money rather than save it is many cases. The report, entitled "Bad Business" was released.
   Access the report.
   Access the press release on the report.

GAO Issues Interagency Contracting Report on Fees
September 12, 2011. In the continuing effort to get at some of the complexities that have arisen in interagency contracts that have become to common in the federal government. There are interesting questions that arise in a comparable way in intergovernmental agreements at the local level.
   Access the report.

Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan Issues Final Report
September 1, 2011. The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan has issued its final report entitled Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs and Reducing Risks. The report repeats a consistent theme in its reports to date and in other reports issued by other studies but adds new stress on the problems in light of the dramatically increased reliance on contractors. The foreword begins, "Forced to treat contractors as the default option because federal agencies lack the organic capacity to perform some mission-critical functions, the government also lacks the acquisition personnel and structures needed to manage and oversee an unprecedentdly large contractor force that at times has outnumbered troops in the field." p. 2 Above all, the commission argues, it is essential to ensure that leaders and their organizations come to recognize the central importance of contract management in their operations. "Meaningful progress will be limited as long as agencies resist major reforms that would elevate the importance of contracting, commit additional resources to planning and managing contingency contracting and institutionalize best practices within their organizations." p. 7
   Even though their work is now at an end, the Commission's website will remain online with documents and reports available there.
   Read the Commission's Final Report.
   Access the report Contents and Executive Summary.
   Read the Commission's Press Release with Summary and Recommendations.
   Access the Commission's website.

Commission Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan Issues Holds Hearings on Transition Efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan
June 6, 2011. The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan has issued a special report (it's fifth such report), entitled Sustainability: Hidden Costs Risk New Waste with the dangers to contract efforts during the transition processes out of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Commission is holding a hearing today on this report and on the State Department's contracting during and after transition.
   Access the Special Interim Report.
   Read the Commission Press Release on the Report and the Problem.
   Access the Hearings Page on the Commission's Website.
   Access the Commission Website.

Supreme Court Issues State Secrets Doctrine Contracts Ruling
May 26, 2011. A unanimous Supreme Court has issued its long awaited opinion in a case involving a federal contract with General Dynamics that resulted in a dispute which required a determination about how to respond to claims by a contractor for wrongful termination of a contract for default when the government refuses to provide information in the process on grounds of the state secret doctrine. While there was some thought that the Court might use this case as a setting in which to explain the state secret doctrine beyond the limited knowledge of it at present, Justice Scalia chose not to do that and to focus on a narrower treatment of the case.
   Read the General Dynamics v. U.S. opinion.

Commission Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan Issues Second Major Report
April 25, 2011. The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan has issued its second interim report to Congress entitled At What Risk? Correcting Over-Reliance on Contractors in Contingency Operations." In its executive summary, the Commission points sets out its key findings as follows: "New and expanded, often time-critical missions combined with ceilings on civilian and military personnel have led senior official sand commanders to rely on contractors as the default option. . . ; Existing agency cultures all too often relegate contracting to an afterthought, thereby inhibiting sound planning, resourcing, and management of contractors. . . .; Current interagency mechanisms and intra-agency resource allocations do not support the changing missions of agencies in contingency operations, the out of which is greater reliance on contractors and less focus on contract outcomes. . . ; Without effective competition and accurate assessment of contractor performance during contingency operations, money is wasted, and the likelihood of fraud and abuse increases. . . ; Agencies' failure to effectively use contract suspension and debartment tools, and the U.S. government's limited jurisdiction over criminal behavior and limited access to records, have contributed to an environment where contractors misbehave with limited accountability." The report offers 32 recommendation to Congress for responding to these findings.
   This report follows a firt interim report issued in 2009 entitled At What Cost? Contingency Contracting In Iraq and Afghanistan.
   Access the At What Risk report report from 2011.
   Access the "At What cost" report from 2009.
   Access the Commission Website.

GAO Checks in on Continuing Efforts to Improve Acquisitions Management in the Coast Guard
April 13, 2011. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on the ongoing efforts to improve acquisitions management in the Coast Guard. It shows considerable progress in a variety of areas, but cautions that challenges remain for an agency that has come a long way from where it was a few years ago.
   Read the GAO report.

Air Force Awards Tanker Contract to Boeing
February 24, 2011. The Air Force has announced that it has awarded the contract to replace the existing air tanker fleet to Boeing. This is the first phase of a larger program to replace the aging tanker aircraft.
   Access the Air Force Announcement.
   Access the Air Force Fact Sheet on the KC-46 Tanker Contract.
   Access the Washington Governor's Statement on the Contract Award.

GAO Reports on Contracting Approaches and Oversight Under the Recovery Act
July 23, 2010. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report showing the ways in which contracting was done under the ARRA as well as highlighting accountability issues. In an interesting introduction to its report, GAO notes that "More than two-thirds of the $26 billion obligated for Recovery Act federal contract actions through May 2010 were on contracts that were in place before the enactment of the Recovery Act." Highlights, p.1
   Read the GAO Report.

Obama Administration Issues Overdue Draft Policy Letter on Inherently Governmental Functions
June 21, 2010. The Obama administration has finally issued the new draft policy on inherently governmental functions. The Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act required OMB to issue by November 2009 a new policy on the definition of inherently governmental functions to address what can and cannot be contracted. However, the administration did not publish notice for comment until the end of March of 2010 and the comment period just ended on June 1. The final version of the policy letter has not yet been issued.
   .Access OMB Notice of Proposed Policy Letter on Inherently Governmental Functions

New GAO Report on Nonprofits, Grants, Intergovernmental Relations, and Indirect Costs Hits Little Discussed, but Critical Issue
May 19, 2010. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report focused on Nonprofit Organizations and difficulties with indirect costs in grants that lead to significant service problems. In the current environment, so many activities are carried out through contracts under grants or a combination of different types of agreements involving government and nonprofits that it can be critical if any part of the network experiences weaknesses and challenges. This report, entitled Nonprofits: Treatment Reimbursement of Indirect Costs Vary Among Grants, and Depend Significantly on Federal, State, and Local Government Practices, calls upon OMB to "bring together federal, state, lcoal, and nonprofit representatives to help clarify and improve understanding of how nonprofits' indirect costs should be treated, particularly for grants passed through state and local governments to nonprofits. OMB agreed with GAO's recommendation." Highlights, p. 1.
   Read the GAO report.

GAO Assesses Obama Administration's Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan
April 27, 2010. The Government Accountability Office has produced a report that assesses the strategic plan produced by the Office of Management and Budget's acquisition workforce development strategic plan for civilian agencies. The report is based on the fact that "Congress enacted section 860 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. . . . this provision directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare a plan -- the Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan --- for federal agencies other than the Department of Defense to develop a specific and actionable 5-years plan to increase the size of the acquisition workforce and operate a governmentwide acquisition intern program." p. 1. The report analyzes actions taken by OMB since then.
   Read the GAO report.

GAO Issues A New Report on Contingency Contracting in Iraq
April 14, 2010. The GAO has issued its latest report on contract management problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this instance, the report focuses on "Contractors Supporting Contract and Grant Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. "GAO found that the agencies had obligated nearly $1 billion through March 2009 on 223 contracts and task orders active during fiscal year 2008 or the first half of fiscal year 2009 that included the perforamance of administration functions for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan." Report summary, p 1.
    Also of interest is the testimony by John P. Hutton, GAO Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Armed Services Committee which he titled "Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Face Challenges in Tracking Contracts, Grants, Cooperative Agreements, and Associated Personnel."
   Read the GAO Contingency Contracting Report.
   Read the GAO Testimony on Contracts, Grants, and Cooperative Agreements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GAO Report Notes Improvements but Remains Critical of Medicare Contract Audits
April 4, 2010. The Government Accountability Office has released a report finding that while there have been improvements in Medicare contractor oversight to address risks of improper payments, there are still improvements needed.
   Read the GAO Report.

Department of Defense Announces Final RFP for KC-X Tanker Contract
February 26, 2010. The Department of Defense and Secretary of the Air Force have announced the final request for proposal for the KC-X tanker designed to replace the KC-135. The competition has to this point seen conflict between Boeing and its supporters in Washington state and Northrop Grumman and its supporters in Alabama. The final bids are due on May 10, 2010.
   Read the DOD press release.
   Read the Transcript of Secretary of the Air Foce William Lynn.
   Access the Briefing Slides.
   Access the Request for Proposal Documents from FedBizOpps.gov.

President Memorandum Targets Government Contractors WIth Tax Issues
January 23, 2010. President Obama has issued a presidential memorandum targeting federal contractors that are delinquent in their taxes. The memorandum directs the IRS to review certifications of non-delinquency provided by contractors. It also directs OMB and Treasury to review the way in which contract officers and those involved with debarment of contractors handle non-delinquency certifications with recommendations for improvements to be provided within 90 days.
   Read the Memorandum.

GAO Emphasizes Continuing Concerns About Cost-Reimbursement Contracts
October 30, 2009. Despite the attention to cost reimbursement contracts, there are still concerns about their extent and whether they are under adequate supervision and oversight controls. GAO has issued a new report on the issue.
   Access the report.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Issues Series of Reports on Contract Challenges in Iraq
October 30, 2009. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has issued his latest quarterly report to Congress with a broad-based discussion of the current state of policy and development in the country as well as reports on recent audits.
   Access the SIGIR website.

OFPP Issues New Federal Contract Policies
October 29, 2009. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has issued a string of policies aimed at implementing the president's memorandum on contracting reform. The lastest of these were just published this week. The Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act for FY2009 contained a requirement that OMB produce a report clarifying the definition of inherently governmental functions. However, the agency has indicated that that report will come later some time before the end of the year.
   Read the Memorandum on Increasing Competition and Structuring Contracts for the Best Results.
   Read the Memorandum on Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan for Civilian Agencies -- FY 2010-2014.
   Read the Improving Government Acquisition (M-09-25, July 29, 2009).
   Read the Improving the Use of Contractor Performance Information (July 29, 2009) .
   OFPP Briefing Room for Contract Management Reform.

Obama Administration Appoints Office of Federal Procument Policy Director
October 7, 2009. More than eight months into the Obama administration, the president, who has made contracting a key element in his programs and policies, has names Daniel I. Gordon to be the Director of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Gordon comes to the position from his current work as the Deputy General Counsel at the Government Accountability Office. He has held a number of positions at GAO, including serving as the head of the Procurement Law Division which is also responsible for handling bid protests. Mr. Gordon has an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University, a M. Phil. from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School where he was also Executive Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He has taught as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School.
   Read the White House Announcement.

GAO Testimony Reports Federal Contract Data Systems Present Difficulties
July 15, 2009. The Government Accountability Office, in testimony by William T. Woods before the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has reported problems with the operation of three key data systems used by the federal government in contract management. They are "The Federal Procurement Data System -- Next Generation (FPDS-NG), which provides information on government contracting actions, procurement trends, and achievement of socioeconomic goals, such as small business participation; The Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS), which consolidates federal contractor performance information colelction by individual agencies; The Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), which maintains information on businesses or individuals that have been excluded from receiving contracts or other federal funds for a variety of reasons, including a serious failure to perform to the terms of the contract.
   Access the GAO Testimony.
   Access the FPDS-NG.
   Access the PPIRS.
   Access the EPLS.

GAO Issues Report on Grants.gov
July 15, 2009. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report entitled "Grants Management: Grants.gov Has Systemic Weaknesses That Require Attention." The report calls attention to a variety of serious problems with the interagency coordination and cooperation in the Grants.gov system, including a lack of funding to the point where the project was unable to fund its vendors and "the Grants.gov Project Management Office (PMO) developed a system dhutdown plan and implemented the first step -- it eliminated Web site updates and moved all notices to the Grants.gov blog." Report Highlights, p.1 The report raises a number of other significant issues.
   Access the Report.

GAO Reports Serious Deficiencies in Federal Protective Service Contractor Guards
July 9, 2009. In testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Government Accountability Office reported extremely serious security lapses resulting from the inadequate training and on the job performance of Federal Protective Service contract employees. The testimony noted that: "GAO investigators carrying the components for an improvised explosive device successfully passed undetected through security checkpoints monitored by FPS's guaeds at each of the 10 Level IV federal facilities where GAO conducted covert testing. Of the 10 level IV facilities GAO pentrated, 8 were government owned, 2 were leased, and included offices of a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative, as well as agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, State, and Justice. Once GAO investigators passed the control access points, they assembled the explosive device and walked freely around several floors of these level IV facilities with the device in a briefcase." Highlights page.
   Access the testimony.

Commission on Wartime Contracting Issues Interim Report to Congress
June 23, 2009. The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has issued an Interim Report to Congress entitled At What Cost? Contingency Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This report flows from the hearings and investigations of the conducted by the Commission.
   The Commission on Wartime Contracting was created at the sponsorship of Senators James Webb (D,VA) and Claire McCaskill (D,MO) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008. President Bush issued a signing statement at the time of passage of the legislation, suggesting that the administration would not cooperate with some oversight related provisions of the statute such as the commission, but the body has been moving forward with its work.
   Access the Commission's Interim Report to Congress.
   Access the Commission on Wartime Contracting home page.
   Information on creation of the Commission on Wartime Contracting from Senator Webb's website.
   Read the President's Signing Statement on H.R. 4986.
   Read the National Defense Authorization Act.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction "Hard Lessons" Report Available
June 23, 2009. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has published the final version of its report entitled Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience which details a history of problems with the plans and implementation of those plans after the invasion of Iraq and replacement of its previous regime. (The report is over 500 pages in length and is a large file. Also, there are three separate links for the body of the report, the endnotes, and the cover on the SIGIR Hard Lessons webpage at the link below.)
   Access the Hard Lessons report via the SIGIR website.
   Access the SIGIR website.

President Signs Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009
May 22, 2009. President Obama has signed S. 454, the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009. The act creates a Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation. It also requires an explicit explanation of tradeoffs in acquisitions decisions.
    Access S. 454.

Intergovernmental Agreements Resources
May 16, 2009. One of the most important aspects of contemporary local governance is the development and operation of various types of intergovernmental and interlocal agreements. It is increasingly common for states to have IGA statutes, but they vary widely as to the types and forms of IGAs among local governments and between local governments and other organizations. Tribal governments also have adopted policies on IGAs with state or local governments. For useful resources and sample agreements, see the Local Government page of this website.

GAO Issues Update Report on Coast Guard "Deep Water" Program
April 27, 2009. The Government Accountability Office has issued its latest update report on the Coast Guard "Deep Water" program entitled "Update on Deepwater Program Management, Cost, and Acquisition Workforce.
    Access the report.

Obama Administration Issues Policy on Contract Reform
March 5, 2009. President Obama has issued a memorandum on government contracting reform. Following a discussion of the subject, he wrote: "I further direct the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the aforementioned officials and councils, and with input from the public, to develop and issue by September 30, 2009, Government-wide guidance to: (1) govern the appropriate use and oversight of sole-source and other types of noncompetitive contracts and to maximize the use of full and open competition and other competitive procurement processes; (2) govern the appropriate use and oversight of all contract types, in full consideration of the agency's needs, and to minimize risk and maximize the value of Government contracts generally, consistent with the regulations to be promulgated pursuant to section 864 of Public Law 110-417; (3) assist agencies in assessing the capacity and ability of the Federal acquisition workforce to develop, manage, and oversee acquisitions appropriately; and (4) clarify when governmental outsourcing for services is and is not appropriate, consistent with section 321 of Public Law 110-417 (31 U.S.C. 501 note)."
    Public Law 110-417 is the "Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009." Section 321 of the Act concerns the need to clarify the definition of inherently governmental functions and implement that policy to ensure against of contracting out of activities that should remain within direct government control. Title VIII of the Act concerns acquisition policy and management and Subtitle G sets out a series of "Governmentwide Acquisitions Improvments, including sections (862) limitations on length of certain noncompetitive contracts; (863) requirements for purchase of property and services pursuant to multiple award contracts; (864) regulations on the use of cost-reimbursement contracts; (865) preventing abuse of interagency contracts; (866) limitations on tiering of subcontractors; (867) linking of award and incentive fees to acquisition outcomes; (868) minimizing abuse of commercial services item authority; (869) acquisition workforce strategic plan; (870) contingency contracting corps; (871) access of Government Accountability Office to contractor employees; (872) database for Fedeal agency contract and grant officers and suspension and debarment officials; (873) role of Interagency Committee on Debarment and Suspension; and (874) improvements to the Federal procurement data system. The president's memorandum specifically referred to Section 864, dealing with cost-reimbursement contracts. Relevant links are provided below. The link for the FPDS system is located in the Federal Portals for Contracts, Grants, and Expenditure Tracking on this webpage. (NOTE: The statute is a large .pdf file.)
    Read the President's Memorandum to Executive Departments and Agencies.
    Access Public Law 110-417.

Senate Armed Services Committee Holds Hearing on Acquisition Reform Bill
March 5, 2009. The Senate Armed Services Committee has held hearings on S. 454, the "Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.".
    Read S. 454.
    Access hearing statements and other information.

GAO Publishes a Cost Estimating Guide
March 5, 2009. The Government Accountability Office has published a guide entitled GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Cost. While the report is aimed at the federal government it is also intended to be useful to state and local governments as well.
    Read the GAO Cost Estimate Guide.

GAO Issues Report on Accountability and Transparency and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
March 5, 2009. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report entitled "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: GAO's Role in Helping to Ensure Accountability and Transparency."
    Read the GAO Report.

OMB Issues Implementation Guidance for the Stimulus Package
February 23, 2009. The Office of Management and Budget has issued a memorandum to executive agencies and departments entitled "Initial Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
   The House and Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and it has been signed by the president as P.L. 111-5. The final bill is a modified version of the Collins-Nelson Amendment (570) which was an amendment in the nature of a substitute which completely replaced the legislation that previously passed theU.S. House of Representatives. The GPO has not yet published P.L. 111-5 in public law format, but the law is available in the bill number format as adopted by both houses and signed by the president.
   Access the OMB Initital Implementation Guidance.
   Access the bill as passed by the house and Senate.

President Obama Issues Faith-Based Policy in Executive Order
February 6, 2009. President Obama has issued an executive order entitled "Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President's Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships." As the title indicates, the new order modifies, but does not replace the faith-based initiative orders issued by President George W. Bush.
    Read the Executive Oreder.

President Obama Issues a String of Directives in Important Areas
February 4, 2009. President Obama has issued a number of executive orders over the past several days. On January 30, he issued an order entitled "Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws" and another entitled "Economy in Government Contracting." The first order overturns the Bush EO 13201 and the second prevents firms from counting expenses of involvement in union representation elections as expenses under federal contracts. A third order issued on that same date, entitled "Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts," calls on contractors to provide opportunities for displaced workers in service contracts.
   Also on January 30, the president issued a memorandum, creating the Task Force on the Middle-Class family to be headed by Vice President Biden.
   The president has also issued an executive order revoking orders on rulemaking review issued by George W. Bush and a memorandum to executive branch agencies calling for a reexamination of the process of regulatory review with each agency to provide information and recommendations for a new regulatory review order within 100 days. The memorandum uses the E.O. 12866 issued by President Clinton as the starting point for that discussion.
   Finally, the president issued a finding with respect to the need to extend assistance in connection with the "Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza."
   Access "Notificiation of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws" order.
   Access "Economy in Government Contracting" order
   Access "Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts" order.
   Access the memorandum on White House Task Force on Middle-Class Working Families.
   Access Revocation of Executive Orders Concerning Regulatory Review.
   Access Regulatory Review Memorandum to Reassess EO12866.
   Access Finding with regard to Refugee and Migration Issues Relating to Gaza .

Food & Drug Administration IG Reports on Contracting Problems in the Agency's IT Operations
January 12, 2009. The FDA Inspector General has issued a report entitled "Management of Information Technology Contracts at the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research," addressing a variety of areas where improvement is needed in the agency's purchase of services and products in the IT field.
    Read the FDA IG Report.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Prepares "Hard Lesson" Report
December 14, 2008. The New York Times and ProPublica.com were provided with and have published a draft of the report prepared by the Special Inspector on Iraq Reconstruction entitled Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience which details a history of problems with the plans and implementation of those plans after the invasion of Iraq and replacement of its previous regime. The report is scheduled to be completed and formally released in February at hearings to be held by the Commission on Wartime Contracting. For more information, including links to the report and information and links on the contracting commission, go to the Sustainable Development page of this website.

GAO Presses the Strategic Acqusition Workforce Plan approach to Address Homeland Security Contracting Problems
November 19, 2008. Continuing it's efforts to encourage agencies to build and implement strategic workforce plans for enhancing contract management capacity, GAO has issued a report critical of the Department of Homeland Security. Following on the Report of the Acquisition Advisory Panel to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Congress issued in January 2007, the GAO study found that DHS had not moved forward to create the capacity or taken essential steps in that direction.
    Read the GAO Report.
    Read the Report of the Acquisition Advisory Panel to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Congress.

GAO Reports to Congress on Need for US AID to Build a Strategic workforce Plan
September 30, 2008. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report for Congress on the U.S. Agency for International Development, calling for development of a strategic workforce plan. The report points out that "USAID has shifted from conducting its own activities to managing acquisition and assistance (A&A) instruments, which are awarded to and implemented by mainly nongovenrmental organizations (NGO). For fiscal years 2002 through 2007, USAID's total annual A&A instruments increased from about 6,000 to about 11,000, while obligations for the instruments doubled from about $5 billion to about $10 billion." USAID Acquisition and Assistance: Actions Needed to Develop and Implement a Strategic Workforce Plan, p. 1. The report finds that the critical issue is to ensure that AID will develop a workforce with an appropriate skill set to address the increasing importance in contracting to carry out its mission.
    Read the GAO Report.

GAO Cautions FEMA on the Need for a Realistic Awareness of Capabilities of Voluntary Organizations as Primary Partners in Catastrophic Events
September 18, 2008. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a report on the role and performance of major voluntary organizations in the response to catastrophic events. The report examined five major organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Charities USA, and United Way of America. The report considers the following questions: "(1) What are the roles of major national voluntary organizations in providing mass care and other human services in response to large-scale disasters requiring federal assistance? (2) What steps have these organizations taken since Katrina to strengthen capacity for service delivery? (3) What is known about their current capabilities for responding to mass care needs in such a large-scale disaster? (4) What are the remaining challenges that confront voluntary organizations in preparing for such large-scale disasters?" pp. 1-2. The report recognizes the essential roles these organizations play in federal plans for disaster response, but also calls for a more realistic assessment of their capabilities and challenges.
    Access the GAO report.

Interior Department Inspector General Issues Report on Abuses in Part of the Minerals Management Service
September 11, 2008. The Inspector General of the Department of the Interior has released an extremely critical report of the operations of a part of the federal government's Minerals Management Service. The investigation focused on the Royalties in Kind (RIK) office in Denver, Colorado and found a host of serious ethics violations and improper dealings with firms that did business with the office as well as serious breaches of federal conduct rules within the office itself.
    Read the Department of Interior IG Report.

Secretary of Defense Reopens Selection and Contract Award Decision Process on Air Tanker Contract
September 11, 2008. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has cancelled the existing solicitation for the acquisition of a new air tanker for the U.S. Air Force arguing that in the complex context that surrounds that contracting process, it is necessary to delay the process until the next administration so that there will be sufficient time to carry it out correctly. A link to the announcement is provided below. Postings on the decision by the defense secretary to take the process into his office and the report by the GAO finding errors in the contracting process are provided in other entries below.
    Read the transcript of the defense secretary's announcement on Cancellation of Rebid on Tanker Contract.

Interior Department Inspector General Reports that the Department Claimed Small Business Goals Met When Contracts Actually Went to Fortune 500 Firms
September 11, 2008. The DOI Inspector General has reported that the department took credit for at least 5.7 million in contracts to small businesses that actually went to Fortune 500 companies in 2006-2007. The report finds that main reasons for the problem were "unreleable data and data entry mistakes, reliance on incorrect data; and a failure on the part of contracting officials to verify business size reported to Central Contractor Registation." Cover memorandum from Earl E. Devaney, Inspector General, to P. Lunn Scarlett, Department Secretary, p. 1.
    Read the Department of Interior IG Report on Misstated Achievement of Small Business Goals.

Inspector General Finds that Its Contractor Found that a HHS Contractor Missed Errors
August 26, 2008. The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released a report assessing error rates in inappropriate payments for durable medical equipment in which it found inappropriate payments by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition to the substantive findings, it is interesting to note that the Inspector General hired its own contractor to assess the work of the contractor hired by CMS to check for errors in CMS payment programs. "For the FY2006 error rate process, CMS's written policies required the CERT contractor to review beneficiaries' medical records, including pertinent records from physicians, to support claims from DME suppliers. The records requested from DME suppliers included physicians' orders, certificates of medical necessity, and proof-of-delivery documentations. CMS orally instructed the CERT contractor to deviate from written policies by (1) making determinations based primarily on the limited medical records available from suppliers, (2) applying clinical inference when reviewing supplier medical records to reasonably infer that the DME provided was medically necessary, and (3) not counting lack of proof of delivery as an error if that was the only issue with a claim. Based ont he CERT contrctor's medical review, CMS reported that the FY 2006 DME error rate was 7.5 percent, or about $8700 million in improperpayments." Medical Review of Claims for the Fiscal Year 2006 Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Program, cover letter, p. 1. The IG report then indicated that it hired "KePRO, an independent medical review contractor, to perform two reviews of a sample of 363 claims from the CERT sample of 7,955 claims that the CERT contractor had reviewed in determining the FY 2006 DME error rate." Id. The HHS IG then concluded that "Based on the 20 errors that both the CERT contractor and KePRO found and the additional 73 errors that KePRO found, we estimated that the error rate in the FY 2006 CERT DME sample was 28.9 percent." Id., p. 2.
    Read the HHS IG report.

Congressional Budget Office Reports on Iraq Contract Management Issues
August 13, 2008. In response to a request from the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued a report Contractors' Support of U.S. Operations in Iraq. The authors of the report, Daniel Frisk and R. Derek Trunkey, found that "at least 190,000 contractor personnel work in the Iraq theater on contracts funded by the United States. The ration of U.S.-funded contractor employees to members of the U.S. military in the Iraq theater is therefore approximately 1 to 1." p. 8. This ratio, they found, is 2.5 times that in any other major conflict. p. 1. The report addresses costs and a variety of other issues associated with these contract operations.
    Read the CBO report.

HHS Reports Evaluation of a Contracted Out Audit Program
August 1, 2008. The Department of Health and Human Services has released a report entitled the Medicare Recovery Contract Audit Program: An Evaluation of the 3-Year Demonstration.
    Read the RAC Evaluation Report.

GAO Testimony Cautions About the Importance of Thorough "Up-Front Analysis" on Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Projects
July 25, 2008. JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director Physical Infrastructure Issues of theGovernment Accountability Office, testified this week before the Senate Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure on the importance of careful "up-front analysis" before governments enter into public-private partnerships on projects like toll roads and bridges, pointing to hidden costs, such a revenue losses from depreciation by private parties to the infrstructure development and variability in toll calculations as well as other issues.
    Read the testimony.

GAO Reports Finds Interference with Defense Contract Audit Agency Audits
July 24, 2008. In a very serious set of conclusions following its investigation of complaints of abuses in DCAA audits, the GAO "found that contractor officials and the DOD contracting community improperly influence the audit scope, conclusions, and opinions of some audits -- a serious independence issue. We also substantiated allegations of problems with the audit environment and inadequate supervision of certain forward pricing audits at location 3. Moreover, during our investigation, DCAA managers took action against their staff at two locations, attempting to inteimidate auditors, discouraging them from speaking with our investigators, and creating a generally abusive work environment." Governmental Accountability Office, DCAA Audits: Allegations That Certain Audits at Three Locations Did Not Meet Professional Standards Were Substantiated," p. 4.
    Read the GAO Report.

Secretary of Defense Reopens Selection and Contract Award Decision Process on Air Tanker Contract
July 10, 2008. In response to the GAO bid protest ruling on the KC-X contract, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has withdrawn the previous announcement of a selection of a contractor for the Air Force tanker contract and has reopened the bid selection and award process pending reconsideration of the errors in the contracting process that were identified in the GAO bid protest decision.
    Read the transcript of the defense secretary's announcement on KC-X contract process..

GAO Upholds Boeing Bid Protest on KC-X Air Force Tanker Contract Award
June 19, 2008. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a "Statement Regarding the Bid Protest Decision Resolving the Aerial Refueling Tanker Protests by the Boeing Company," B-311344, June 18, 2008, that announces a bid protest ruling in favor of Boeing in the hotly contested Air Force effort to acquire a new air tanker. Eventually, the acquisition is expected to purchase 179 new aircraft, but the initial decision was made with respect to system development and the purchase of 80 aircraft. The bid protest decision (redacted to remove proprietary information) is now available at the link below.
    The web site for the GAO Bid Protests page is also provided below.
    Read the GAO statement on the Boeing Bid Protest.
    Read the full bid protest decision for the Boeing Bid Protest.
    Access the GAO Bid Protest web page.

Defense Department Inspector General Finds More Evidence of Mideast Operations Contracting Accountability Difficulties
March 28, 2008. The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General has issued a report entitled Internal Controls Over Payments Made in Iraq, Kuwait, and Egypt that adds to the mounting studies on problems with the dramatically increased level and varied types of federal government contracting in the era of the war on terror. In the report, the IG Found, inter alia, that: "The Army did not maintain adequate internal controls over commercial payments to ensure that they were properly supported. . . . The DOD Financial Management Regulation and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement did not contain guidance addressing procedures to be used in a military contingency operation. . . . DOD did not maintain a complete audit trail to facilitate transparency regarding $1.8 billion of seized and vested assets payments to Iraqi representatives to ensure that the funds were accounted for, audited, and used to assist the Iraqi people. In addition, DOD did not maintain a complete audit trail over $134.8 million in Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) payments made to representatives of foreign govenrments. . . . THe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retained $5.7 million in advanced seized and vested Iraqi assests in a suspense account for 21 months and had not made these funds available to pay for Iraqi debt with the U.S. Government or for other Iraqi projects." Executive Summary, pp. i-iii..
    Read the DOD IG Report study.

GAO Identifies Issues in the Use of Contractors for Contract Specialists
March 27, 2008. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on the increasing use of contractors as contract specialists. This report looked particularly at the U.S. Army which has been attempting to address a range of issues identified in the Gensler Report (earlier posting on this web page) and other studies. Given its difficulties in recruiting contract specialists, the GAO report found that: "In August 2007, contractors--who work side by side and perform the same functions as their government counterparts--comprised 42 percent of CCE's contract specialists." Highlights, p. 1. It also found that: "CCE is paying up to almost 27 percent more for its contractor-provided contract specialists than for similarly graded government employees." Id. [CCE is the Contracting Center of Excellense of the Army Contracting Agency.] The report identifies a variety of issues associated with the management of these contract, contract management personnel. The report is entitled Defense Contracting: Army Case Study Delineates Concerns with Use of Contractors as Contract Specialists.
    Read the GAO study.

GAO Study Argues Against Decisions Not to Terminate Contracts For Fear of Termination Costs
March 18, 2008. The Government Accountability Officer has released a study that addresses concerns that some agencies, and particularly those with large programs like the Department of Defense, may tend to avoid terminating a contract that should be ended because of concerns about the costs of termination. The study found that: "For the contracts reviewed, GAO found that it did not cost more to terminate than to complete them." Highlights, p. 1.
    Read the GAO study.

Air Force Awards Tanker Contract to Northrup-Grumman/Airbus Consortium
March 1, 2008. The U.S. Air Force has announced the award of the KC-X air refueling tankers contract to replace existing tanker aircraft to a consortium of Northrup Grumman and the European AirBus firm. The contract is expected to cost some $35 billion for the purchase of up to 179 aircraft. The first portion of the contract is $1.5 billion for development and testing. The Boeing company lost its proposal that would have used 767 aircraft for the tanker aircraft.
    Read the USAF Announcement.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Iowa Support for Prison Ministries Program
December 4, 2007. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld a finding by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, 432 F.Supp. 2d 862 (S.D. Iowa 2006), that the contracts that the state's Department of Corrections had with Prison Fellowship Ministries, Inc, and its affiliate InnerChange Freedom Initiatives, Inc., violated the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Pratt's district court ruling held that: "The contractual relationship between the state of Iowa, as managed and directed by the named state Defendants, and InnerChange and Prison Fellowship violates the Plaintiffs' Establishment of religion rights as contrained in the Federal and Iowa Constitutions by impermissibly funding the InnerChange treatment program at the Newton Facility." Slip opinion at 126. The appeals court panel, which included retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sitting by designation, affirmed those portions of the lower court ruling dealing with the establishment clause, but reversed a portion of the lower court's order mandating recoupment of funds previously spent on the contract on grounds that the court failed to consider a number of factors that should have been taken into account in fashioning relief in the case. On the substantive grounds, however, the appeals court found clear violations in the contract both as it was originally operated from 2000-2004 and also in the form in which it was operated thereafter when the state modified the funding for the program in an attempt to limit its exposure to an establishment clause challenge.
    Read the Court of Appeals Opinion.
    Read the District Court Ruling.

Additional Accusations Added to Iraqi Suit Against Blackwater in U.S. Federal District Court
November 28, 2007. The parties that launched a civil suit against Blackwater USA in federal district court in October have added additional allegations concerned with the performance of the company and its employees which the plaintiffs charge contributed to the deaths in the Nasoor Square incident in Baghdad on September 16, 2007. The case was brought on behalf of those injured and the estates of some killed in the event in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Blackwater USA, the Prince Group, and Erik Prince, alleging war crimes and extrajudicial killing under the Alien Tort statute. The plaintiffs also allege assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision. The amended complaint asserts that those Blackwater employees involved violated orders and should not have been at the site of the shooting. It also alleges that a significant number of its employees were using "steroids or other judgment-altering substances," but contends that the firm did not take steps to test for or to stop such behavior. The complaint seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. Blackwater rejects the allegations and has mounted a vigorous defense against the suit and in congressional investigations associated with the allegations. The case, Atban v. Blackwater USA, has been assigned to Judge Reggie B. Walton.
   . Read the amended complaint.
   . Read the original complaint.
   . See the Blackwater responses to criticisms.

Federal District Court Rules That Suit by Iraqi Nationals Against Contractor CACI for Abu Ghraib Actions May Proceed
November 7, 2007. District Judge James Robertson, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, has rejected a request for a summary judgment by CACI to block a case brought by those who argue that they were tortured at Abu Ghraib and families who allege that their relatives were tortured and killed at the facility against the firm that provided interrogators there. However, the court granted a similar request by Titan Corp., a firm that provided translators at the prison. These cases were originally brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, but a number of cases were consolidated and moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The original complaint and demand for a jury trial and the various attachments to this document provide the detailed allegations as well as information about the contractors and the contracts. That documents is also noted below.
    Read the opinion.
    Read the complaint and demand for jury trial.

Commission on Army Contracting Problems Issues Critical Report
November 1, 2007. Former head of DOD contracting, Under Secretary of Defense Jacques Gansler, has reported the findings of the "Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations," a group he chaired charged with assessing Army contracting processes and management issues and lessons learned in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The commission was appointed by Secretary of the Army Peter Geren in August. The commission found a wide range of challenges that are both "operational and institutional." Central to the findings of the report entitled Urgent Reform Required: Army Expeditionary Contracting is a recommendation for a dramatic increase in the numbers and training of contract management professionals. Beyond that overall recommendation, the report calls for four major actions: "1. Increase the stature, quantity, and career development of military and civilian contracting personnel (especially for expeditionary operations). 2. Restructure organization and restore responsibility to facilitate contracting and contract management in expeditionary and CONUS [continental U.S.] operations. 3. Provide training an tools for overall contracting activities in expeditionary operations. 4. Obtain legislative, regulatory, and policy assistance to enable contracting effectiveness in expeditionary operation." p. 5. (NOTE: This is a fairly lengthy document and one may wish to download the file before opening it to reduce delay.)
    Access the Army commission report.

GAO Issues Report on VA Health Care Contracting
October 31, 2007. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee entitled "VA Health Care: Status of Inspector General Recommendations for Health Care Services Contracting." The report examines the recommendations made by the VA Inspector General for fiscal years 2004, 2005, and 2006. It examined what the report calls 214 "key recommendation" made during that time and found that they presented five common themes. See the report for the discussion of those themes.
    Access the GAO report.

State Department Publishes Panel Report and Announces Actions to Address Issues Regarding Iraq Security Contractors
October 24, 2007. In an effort to address concerns regarding the behavior and accountability of security contractors in Iraq, the U.S. Department of State has released a report of a panel convened by Secretary Rice to investigate the matter and has announced a series of measures to address the recommendations of that report.
    Access the panel report.
    Access the briefining announcing State Department responses to recommendations.

GAO Report Assesses Risk of Contracting Critical Functions
October 19, 2007. The Government Accountability Office has released a report focused on the Department of Homeland Security that considers the risks posed by contracting of some functions generally considered to be inherently governmental. The report calls for careful risk assessments to ensure oversight and control in such settings.
    Access the GAO report.

House Passes Bill to Make Private Security Contractors Subject to Criminal Legal Action
October 5, 2007. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate H.R. 2740 known as the "MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007." The legislation would amend the Military Extraterritoriality Jurisdiction Act, 18 U.S.C. §3261, a statute originally adopted in 2000. It would make the U.S. Department of Justice responsible to investigate and bring criminal charges in cases where such actions are appropriate. It would also require the DOJ Inspector General to report to Congress on the agencies investigations and resulting prosecutions.
    Access H.R. 2740.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Holds Hearings on Security Contractor Blackwater
October, 2, 2007. The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding hearings on issues associated with Blackwater U.S.A. employed by the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense in Iraq. In preparation for those hearings committee staff has prepared a background memorandum detailing reported incidents, contract information, and general information concerning the company.
    Even before the recent deaths of civilians there were growing contrroversies in Iraq related to the performance of security contractors of which Blackwater U.S.A. is the best known. The Congressional Research Service produced a report in June entitled Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues. As the report indicates: "The use of armed civilians to perform security tasks that were formerly performed by the military raises new transparency, accountability, legal, and symbolic issues, and practical issues regarding the possible long-term effects on the military. This report first summarizes available information on the private contractors providing security services under U.S. government contracts in Iraq. It then provides information on relevant U.S., international, and Iraqi law, and legal issues involved in the use of armed contractors. It concludes with a short discussion of cost, military force, and potential foreign policy implications." (p. 1). The report addresses both contracts by the military and those issued by the U.S. Department of State.
    Read the House Committee Memorandum.
    Read the CRA Report.

GAO Publishes "Best Practices" Guide for "Estimating and Managing Program Costs
August 23, 2007. The Government Accountability Office has published what it describes as an "exposure draft" of a new guide entitled Cost Estimate Guide: Best Practices for Estimating and Managing Program Costs. The GAO describes the purpose of the document as follows: "Because federal guidelines are limited on processes, procedures, and practices for ensuring credible cost estimates, the Cost Guide is intended to fill that gap. Its purpose is twofold -- to address generally accepted practices for ensuring credible program cost estimates (applicable across government and industry) and to provide a detailed link between cost estimating and EVM [earned value management]. Providing that link is especially critical, because it demonstrates how both elements are needed for setting realistic program baselines and managing risk." (p.1)
    Read the Guide.

Urban Institute Releases Study on Nonprofit Governance and Accountability
July 19, 2007. The Urban Institute has published the results of its survey of nonprofits entitled "Nonprofit Governance in the United States: Findings on Performance and Accountability," authored by Francie Ostrower. The abstract describes the report as follows: "This report presents survey findings, discussing: relationships between public policy and governance, factors that promote or impede boards' performance of basic stewardship responsibilities, board composition and factors associated with board diversity, and recruitment processes, including the difficulty experienced by many nonprofits in finding members."
    Read the Urban Institute Paper
    Read the Urban Institute Paper Appendices

Walker Lays Out Agenda for Reform of Federal Contracting
July 17, 2007. The Government Accountability Office has published Comptroller General David Walker's testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee , entitled "Federal Acquisitions and Contracting: Systemic Challenges Need Attention." In it Walker lays out a four part agenda for change, including "separating wants from needs, establishing and supporting realistic program requirements, using contractors in appropriate circumstances and contracts as a management tools, and creating a capable workforce and holding it accountable." (p.3)
    Read the Walker Testimony.

Comptroller General Lays Out Contracting Problems as Barriers to Progress in Iraq
February 16, 2007. Comptroller General David Walker has testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to the importance of contracting difficulties in the mix of serious challenges in Iraq. He summarizes the testimony as follows: "This statement discussed (1) facotrs affecting DOD's ability to promote successful acquisition outcomes on its contracts for reconstruction and for support to deployed foces in Iraq, (2) the deteriorating security situation and the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, and (2) issues affecting the Iraqu government's ability to support and sistainab future reconstruction progress." GAO, Rebuilding Iraq: Reconstruction Progress Hindered by COntracting, Security, and Capacity Challenges, Highlights Page).
    Read the Walker Testimony.

Ninth Circuit Rejects Attempt to Kill Fish Passage Center
January 26, 2007. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled against the Bonneville Power Administration's attempt, based upon language inserted into a conference committee report, to eliminate the Fish Passage Center that provides monitoring of water conditions and salmon survival. The BPA announced its intention to redirect the functions of the center to two other contractors because of the language in the report even though the statute itself did not make that policy change. In Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Bonneville Power Administration, No. 06-70430, the ninth circuit panel found that "[C]ommittee report language unconnected to the text of an enact statute has no binding legal import, and it was contrary to law for BPA to base its decision to transfer the FPC on its belief that 'the US Congress passed legislation (Hous Report 109-275) . . . forbid[ding] BPA from making additional obligations in support of the Fish Passage Center." Slip Opinion at 962.
    The court also reject BPA's argument that, even if the statute did not require elimination of the FPC, the agency had provided a rational basis for doing so on the basis of its existing authority. The court responded: "We hold that BPA's decision to transfer the functions of the FPC to Pacific States and Battelle was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law. We set aside BPA's decision to transfer the functions of the FPC to Pacific States and Battelle and order that BPA continue its existing contractual arrangement to fund and support the FPC unless and until it has established a proper basis for displacing the FPC." Slip Opinion at 977.
    Read the opinion.

House Government Reform Committee Investigates GSA Head
January 21, 2007. Congressman Henry Waxman (D., CA), Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has indicated that the committee will investigate allegations that General Services Administration Administrator Lurita A. Doan has engaged in problematic behavior in three areas. These allegations were made in a Washington Post article and follow on earlier issues raised about behavior of the administrator with respect to the GSA Inspector General. Waxman's letter seeks information to be used in the committee's investigation with respect to allegations that the administrator entered into a no-bid contract with a long-time personal friend (an action later withdrawn following objections by GSA counsel), intervened in suspension or debarment actions against some firms, and sought to interfere in the operations of the GSA IG.
    Read the Waxman letter to Doan.
    Read the Waxman letter Edie Fraser, the Public Affairs Group.
    Read the Waxman letter to Doan.

GAO Issues Report Critical of DOD Lack of Managment of Massive Contracts in Support of Overseas Deployment
January 16, 2007. The Government Accountability Office has issued a report on contracting with the lengthy title Military Operations: High Level DOD Action Needed to Address Long-standing Problems with Management and Oversight of Contractors Supporting Deployed Forces. The report points out that "DOD's reliance on contractors continues to grow. The Army alone estimates that almost 60,000 contractor employees currently support ongoing military operations in Southwest Asia. By way of contrast, an estimated 9,200 contractor personnel supported military operations in the 1001 Guld War. Similarly, the spending on contractors supporting deployed forces is significant. For example, spending on DOD's single largest contract supporting U.S. Forces in SOuthwest Asia -- the Army's Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP0 -- was about $15.4 billion between 2001 and 2004." p. 1.
    Read the GAO report.

GAO and Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Issue Report Critical of Controls on DHS Purchase Cards
September 28, 2006. In a very unusual move, the Government Accountability Office has issued a report jointly with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security entitled Purchase Cards: Control Weaknesses Leave DHS Highly Vulnerable to Fraudulent, Improposer, and Abusive Activity. The report found in part that: "Based on a statistical sample, GAO and DHS OIG estimated that 45 percent of DHS's purchase card transactions were not properly authorized, 63 percent did not have evidence that the goods or services were received, and 53 percent did not give priority to designated procurement sources. GAO and DHS OIG also found cardholders who failed to dispute improper charges, which resulted in losses to the federal government." Summary p. 1.
    Read the GAO/DHS OIG report.

Report on Iraq "Rebuilding" Insists that Progress Requires "Overcoming Contract Management Challenges."
September 28, 2006. Gao has added another report to the growing body of information about contract management issues involved in Iraq assistance efforts.
    Read the GAO report.

Comptroller General Testifies Concerning the Need Improve DOD Contracting in Light of Dramatic Increases in Scope and Complexity
September 7, 2006. Comptroller General David M. Walker testified today before the House Subcommittee on Defense of the Committee on Appropriations. He stressed the importance of the fact that the amount of DOD contracting has increased some 88% since 2000 without adequate capacity to manage the contracts. The DOD is now spending some $270 billion annually by contract and is committed to $1.4 Trillion in major weapons systems purchases. ("DOD Acquisitions: Contracting for Better Outcomes," pp. 3-4) Yet the agency is attempting to do the work with a contract workforce that has remained about the same size overall as it was before the dramatic increases, but that has significant gaps. Not surprisingly, Walker's testimony points to a variety of areas in need of significant improvement: "(1) competition and sound pricing; (2) incentivizing contractors; and (3) contract oversight" (Id. at 6).
    Read the Walker testimony.

House Government Reform Committee Studies Criticizes Homeland Security Department for Contract Shortcomings
July 27, 2006. The House Government Reform Committee has issued a report highly critical of contracting practices in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The report found that no-bid contracts had increased by 739% between 2003 (the new agency's first year after it was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002) and 2005. The report emphasizes 32 contracts for $34.3 billion in goods and services that presented serious difficulties. The report was prepared for committee chairman, Tom Davis, and ranking member Henry Waxman. The GAO has also produced a report on progress at DHS in creating an effective acqusitions operation.
    Read the Government Reform Committee Report on DHS contracting.
    Read the GAO report Homeland Security: Challenges in Creating an Effective Acquisitions Organization.

GAO and FBI Inspector General Raise Cautions About Sentinel System Contract
March 22, 2006. The U.S. Government Accountability Office and the FBI Inspector General have published reports cautioning that the FBI purchase of a major new computer system could be in for serious difficulties unless lessons are learned and applied from the failed $500 million Trilogy computer system that preceded Sentinel. The GAO report identified over $10 million in questionable costs on the failed Trilogy system and some 1,200 pieces of equipment unaccounted for in the audit.
    Read the GAO Trilogy Report.
    Read the FBI IG Report on Sentinel

Oregon Supreme Court Speaks in Ongoing National Discussion as to What Can and Cannot be Contracted-Out.
October 13, 2005. The Oregon Supreme Court has offered its own opinion to the ongoing national discussion of what public positions and activities can and which cannot be outsourced. The Court ruled against a 2002 decision by Portland school authorities to hire a contract firm to replace janitors in its operations based upon a 1937 statute defining the positions and the processes for hiring those who would fill them. For more details, see the Oregon page.

U.S. General Services Administration Announces Major Reorganization to Create the Federal Acquisition Service
August 4, 2005. General Services Administrator Stephen Perry has announced a major reorganization of the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service which will be combined to form the Federal Acquisition Service. The reorganization also entails a new relationship between nationally centralized contract operations and those to be focused in regional offices.
    Read the GSA Reorganization Plan

Congress Expedites FY2006 Defense Authorization Bill with Significant Policy Changes.
May 31, 2005. The House has already passed its version of the FY2006 defense authorization bill and the Senate has it under consideration. The bill contains a variety of important policy measures in addition to the normal pull and haul on individual program authorizations. For example, Sections 801 et seq. of the House and Senate bills provides a number of new contracting policies worthy of attention. These policy initiatives grew out of congressional criticism of recent DOD contracting, particularly in light of increased pressure for expanded contracting under the president's competitive sourcing initiative.
    Access H.R. 1815
    Access S.1043

Office of Federal Procurement Policy Sets Out Guidance on FAIR Act and A-76 Outsourcing Assessments
May 23, 2005. Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator David H. Safavian issued a memorandum to executive branch agencies on current implementation requirements for the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act and the related OMB Circular A-76 process governing the review of commercial activities for possible outsourcing. One of the important parts of the memorandum is an attachment to the memorandum which sets forth guidance for agencies wishing to make an activity exempt from competitive sourcing requirements. Among those justifications is that the function is currently staffed by "individuals with disabilities." This policy comes on the heels of major criticism of administration outsourcing policy as a violation of longstanding federal service commitments to hiring persons with disabilities.
    Read the OFPP Memorandum

OMB Issues Implementation Requirements for the Strategic Outsourcing Policy
May 20, 2005. The Office of Management and Budget has issued a memorandum on implementation of the Bush administration's strategic sourcing policy. The memorandum sets out a series of directions to agencies with responsibility for implementation in each agency to be vested in the Chief Acquisition Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Information Officer.
    Read the OMB Memorandum

HUD Inspector General Report Criticizes Agency Selection and Management of Contractor Hired to Review Grant Applications
May 16, 2005. The Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control was criticized in a memorandum issued by the office of the regional inspector general for audit for the manner in which that HUD office used contractors to review grant proposals. The interim report found that grants were inappropriately awarded or denied because of failures by the office in its selection and management of the contractor hired to review the grant applications.
    Read the IG Report

Supreme Court Holds the Federal Government to Its Promises in Native American Health Care Contracts Cases
March 1, 2005. Writing for the Court in Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma v. Leavitt, concerning the obligations of the federal government in Native American health care contracts, Justice Breyer said: "The question before us is whether the Government's promises are legally binding. We conclude they are." The opinion covers two cases testing whether the federal government could pay Indian nations less than what was promised at the time a contract was entered and whether the Native American nations could seek to obtain the promised funds under the Contract Disputes Act. The Court consolidated two cases, No. 02- 1472 Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation v. Thompson and No. 02-853 Thompson v. Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The cases arose from contracts for the operation of the Duck Valley Reservation Owyhee Community Hospital in Nevada and the Stilwell and Sallisaw Clinics and other facilities by the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and Cherokee Nation with the Indian Health Service under the terms of the Indian Self-Determination Act. The contracts included contract service costs that were later withheld by the Department of Health and Human Services on grounds that the was an appropriations shortfall. From the Native American perspective, this was one more case in the ongoing problem of promises not kept by the federal government. The federal government argued, by contrast, that it has the statutory authority to make adjustments in contracts where stresses imposed by constraints on congressional appropriations do not provide sufficient funds to cover all obligations. All members of the Court, except the Chief Justice who did not participated, supported the Native American claim, though Justice Scalia added a brief concurring opinion concerning the use of a particular committee report in the case.
    Read the Opinion

Supreme Court Rejects Efforts to Enforce Contracts for Covert Services
March 1, 2005. A unanimous Court, in an opinion by the Chief Justice in Tenet v. Doe, has reaffirmed an 1876 ruling, holding that those involved cannot sue for enforcement of contracts for covert services.
    Read the Opinion

Bush Administration Issues a Revised Circular A-76
Based on the results of the Commercial Activities Panel report on competitive sourcing, the president's management agenda, and comments on the November 2002 proposed revision, the Office of Management and Budget on May 29, 2003 issued a revised Circular A-76 governing the identification of commercial activities in federal agencies and procedures for determining whether and how these functions should be made available for bid by commercial entities.
    Read the Revised Circular

The U.S. Commercial Activities Panel Final Report, "Improving the Sourcing Decisions of the Government"
The Commercial Activities Panel, headed by Comptroller General David Walker has issued its report after a year long high level study of decisions about whether and how to outsource particular governmental services and functions. It has produced a set of ten principles that it argues should be the basis for decisions about whether to contract out. The original GAO link has been disconnected, but the following link takes one to the report. Since it is a large file, it is often easiest to save the file and open it later.
    Read the Report

Purchase Cards and Travel Cards Come in for Criticism in General Accounting Office Studies
The purchase cards and travel cards which are now used widely by governments at all levels to reduce paperwork and increase efficiency have received high marks from many organizations, but there are problems that have emerged in their use according to recent General Accounting Office studies reported to Congress. While there are no calls to eliminate the cards, there are recommendations that accountability be improved.
    Read GAO Report "Purchase Cards: Control Weaknesses Leave Army Vulnerable to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse"
    Read "Travel Cards: Control Weaknesses Leave Army Vulnerable to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse" Testimony

Wisconsin Federal District Court Strikes State Level "Faith Based" Initiative.  The state contract program, initiative during the governorship of Tommy Thompson, violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment according to Judge Barbara Crabb of the Federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
    Read the case

Supreme Court Creates Major Questions on Contractor Accountability for Constitutional Torts.
The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1997 in Richardson v. McKnight, 521 U.S. 399 (1997) that guards working under a contractor in the Tennessee corrections system were subject to suit under federal civil rights statutes, but did not enjoy the limited immunity that would normally be available to public employees in the same circumstances.Though concerned with the particular fact situation, the opinion ranged more broadly to discuss elements of accountability for civil rights violations in public contracts.The next case to apply Richardson involved a suit not against employees but against the contractor itself.  The Ninth Circuit cited McKnight in ruling against Lockheed Information Systems in a case concerning the company's operation of Los Angeles' traffic ticket processing.  Ace Beverage Co. v. Lockheed Information Management Services, 144 F.3d 1218 (9th Cir. 1998). However, this term a sharply divided (5-4) Court refused a claim that federal government contractors should be held to constitutional torts under the Bivens doctrine.  The case was Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61 (2001).  After this ruling, there are a host of important accountability questions to be answered in variety of contracting situations.
    Read the Malesko opinion.
    Read the McKnight opinion.

Federal Portals for Contracts, Grants, Research, and Expenditure Tracking

SAM.gov Now in Full Operation as the Primary Online Portal for Federal Contracting
On May 24, 2021 the beta.SAM.gov website was fully merged with SAM.gov which is not the primary online portal for federal contracting. The process has been a long one in which beta.SAM.gov first replaced FedBizOpps (FBO) as the federal portal in late 2019. For a time, the beta operated as the new SAM.gov site was finalized and all materials, functions, and files migrated to that new site. That process was completed in May 2021.
    Access the SAM.gov Homepage.

GSA Updates Its Federal Service Desk (fsd.gov) Website to Support SAM.gov and Other Federal Sites
This updated website is operated by the General Services Administration. The GSA explains that its purpose: "This site is for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards. It provides support for government-wide systems required by federal policy." It adds that: "FSD provides assistance to users through self-help and interfaces with customers. The FSD maintains a robust knowledge base, ticket management systems and trained agents to support our customers."
    Access the Federal Service Desk Site.

USASpending.gov
   Provides information on federal financial awards. "The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act) requires a single searchable website, accessible by the public for free that includes for each Federal award: 1. the name of the entity receiving the award; 2. the amount of the award; 3. information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc; 4. the location of the entity receiving the award; 5. a unique identifier of the entity receiving the award.
    Access USASpending.gov

Small Business Administration Government Contracting Portal
   The is a portal for small businesses that wish to be government contractors developed by the Small Business Administration.
    Access the Government Contracting Overview with Resources.

Grants.gov The Federal Grants Portal
In addition to its central Internet portal for federal contracting, the federal government has also created a similar portal for grants called Grants.gov. This is a particularly important site. Among other reasons, many programs or agencies require that applications or reports be uploaded through this portal. This site is important to many public service professionals who work with contracts, particularly at the state and local levels, as well as those specifically focused on grants, since many of these programs involve state or local contracts under federal grants with a particular blend of the characteristics and accountability requirements of both.
    The United States Environmental Protection Agency has provided an online Grant Management Training for Non-Profit Applicants and Recipients program on its website which takes the user through the grant application process through grant administration and closeout that can be very useful even for those who work in very different policy domains.
    Access Grants.gov.
    Access Grants.gov. Grants 101 Resources
    Access EPA Online Grants Management Training for Non-Profit Applicants and Recipients Course.
    Access EPA Grants Mgmt Training Material.

Policy and Resources on Federal Grants
In December 2013, the OMB issued what is known as the Final Guidance on Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards designed to supersede requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, and A-122 that had for many years governed the administrative of federal grants to state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. The Chief Financial Officers Council advises OMB on federal financial management policy.
    Access the Council on Financial Assistance Reform
    Access OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards December 26, 2013.
    Access Federal Awarding Agency Regulatory Implementation of Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards: Interim Final Rule

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The "Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals."
    Access the Catalog

Research.gov The Federal Research Portal
January 25, 2013. As the NSF explains it, "Research.gov is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) grants management system that provides easy access to research-related information and grants management services in one location. Research.gov is the modernization of FastLane, providing the next generation of grants management capabilities for the research community."
    Access Research.gov.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
    "Tthe CFDA provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals."
    Access CFDA.

Recovery.gov
   This archived website (through the Library of Congress) Provides information on implementation and reporting on expenditures and accountability information for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This site is no longer live, but the archive may be of interest to some researchers.
    Access Recovery.gov now archived at this location at the Library of Congress.

Procurement Glossary

via the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Access the Glossary


Public Contract Law

THIS SECTION UNDER REVISION -- OCTOBER 2023

Federal Acqusition Regulation
    Access the FAR through Acquisitions.gov

United States Code
   Access the U.S. Code. For the Statutes at Large, see the Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website.

Federal Government Auditing Standards
   Government Accountability Office Publication of Federal Government Auditing Standards
   Access the Yellow Book Online

The United States Supreme Court
   (Docket, Briefs, Oral Arguments, Opinions)
   See also the Public Policy, Policy, and Public Administration page of this website for more details and resources.

Court of Appeals and District Court Opinions
   Government Printing Office -- U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
   Government Printing Office -- U.S. District Courts
   The Legal Information Institute Cornell University
   https://www.law.cornell.edu/federal/opinions.html

United States Court of Federal Claims
   http://www.contracts.ogc.doc.gov/fedcl/

Constitution of the United States
   http://www.law.cornell.edu:80/constitution/constitution.table.html#articlei

U.S. Attorney General Opinions
   Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice
   Opinions and Search Tools

Presidential Executive Orders
   Until the beginning of the Trump Administration, executive orders and the changes they made in other existing orders were available through the National Archives' "Disposition Tables." Since the beginning of the Trump administration, there has been a transition underway to provide the orders through a "Executive Orders" site operated by the Office of the Federal Register.
   National Archives and Records Administration
   Disposition Tables from Dwight W. Eisenhower to George W. Bush
   Full text links from 1995 to January 20, 2017
   https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/disposition.html
   Office of the Federal Register
   Executive Orders
   Full text links from 1995 to January 20, 2017
   Full text links from 1994 to Present

Presidential Proclamations and Presidential Memoranda
   Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Through January 2009 and then Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents thereafter.
   Because of their historical importance, the Alito Memorandum, the signing statement on the Detainee Protection Act, and the response of Senators McCain and Warner to are posted as well. Also at the request of some interested in the subject, articles on the subject by the author are provided.
   Federal Register Presidential Proclamations Website
   Federal Register "Other Presidential Documents" Website Focusing on Presidential Memoranda.

GAO Reports
   U.S. General Accounting Office
   http://www.gao.gov/

U.S. Government Agencies Directory
   Directory of Federal Agencies: A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies
   Access the Directory Through USA.gov.

General Legal Research Sites
   The Legal Information Institute Cornell University
   http://www.law.cornell.edu/
   FindLaw.com
   http://www.findlaw.com/

Internet Resources on Federal Contract Management

General Services Administration Announces Final Testing on Beta Version of Acquisitions.gov Website
December 16, 2021. The General Services Administration (GSA) today accounced the uploading of the final test Beta version of the new Acquisitions.gov website. See posting for December 16, 2021 under What's New above.
   Access GSA Beta Version of Acquisitions.gov.

Defense Acquisition University Acquisition Community Connection and "Ace for Services"
   Acquisition Community Connection (ACC)
   https://acc.dau.mil/simplify/ev.php?ID=1_201&ID2=DO_ROOT
   Ace for Services
   https://acc.dau.mil/simplify/ev.php?ID=27518_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC

Office of Management & Budget
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/procurement/index.html

OMB Procurement Circulars
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/index-procure.html
    Includes
      OMB Circular A-76 - Performance of Commercial Activities
         Basic document, revision, and supplemental handbook
      OMB Circular A-109 - Major Systems Acquisition
      OMB Circular A-131 - Value Engineering

Office of Federal Procurement Policy

   Acquisition Reform Network (ARNET) Now Converted to AcqNET
    Information formerly provided in what was known as ARNET has now been renamed AcqNET and consolidated in the Acquisitions.gov above.

   Policy Letters
   http://www.arnet.gov/Library/OFPP/PolicyLetters/

   Office of Federal Procurement Policy Policy Documents
   http://www.arnet.gov/Library/OFPP/PolicyDocs/

   Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GOVWIDE)
   http://www.arnet.gov/gwac/govwide.html

   Acquisition Best Practices Guides
   http://www.arnet.gov/Library/OFPP/BestPractices/

   Federal Acquisitions Institute
   http://www.fai.gov

   Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)
   http://www.dcaa.mil/

   NASA Procurement Library
   http://procure.msfc.nasa.gov/hq/library/v-C-Mgt.htm

   General Federal Government Searches
   http://www.firstgov.gov/


Professional Associations in Government Contracting

National Association of State Procurement Officials
   http://www.naspo.org/

National Contract Management Association
   http://www.ncmahq.org/


State & Local Contracting Resources

Contract Activities at the State and Local Government Level
   Web Connections to State and Local Contracting Agencies via NASA
   http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/business/Procurement/ElecCom/statecont.html

State and Local Procurement
   State by State Links to Contracting Centers
   http://structnet.com/projects/state-procurement.html
   Via the National Institute of Government Purchasing site.

Best Practices Guides
   The Guides, noted above while developed by and for the federal government are useful for state and local contracting as well.

Course Resources

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Iowa Support for Prison Ministries Program
December 4, 2007. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld a finding by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, 432 F.Supp. 2d 862 (S.D. Iowa 2006), that the contracts that the state's Department of Corrections had with Prison Fellowship Ministries, Inc, and its affiliate InnerChange Freedom Initiatives, Inc., violated the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Pratt's district court ruling held that: "The contractual relationship between the state of Iowa, as managed and directed by the named state Defendants, and InnerChange and Prison Fellowship violates the Plaintiffs' Establishment of religion rights as contrained in the Federal and Iowa Constitutions by impermissibly funding the InnerChange treatment program at the Newton Facility." Slip opinion at 126. The appeals court panel, which included retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sitting by designation, affirmed those portions of the lower court ruling dealing with the establishment clause, but reversed a portion of the lower court's order mandating recoupment of funds previously spent on the contract on grounds that the court failed to consider a number of factors that should have been taken into account in fashioning relief in the case.
    Read the Court of Appeals Opinion.
    Read the District Court Ruling.

Resources on Lessons Learned Programs
   The following are links to useful materials on building and operating effective lessons learned programs. For more information about these items, see the post for March 18, 2022 above on this webpage.
   Read GAO Report "Household Hazardous Waste Removal: EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response," GAO-22-104276 (Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2022
   Read GAO, Project Management: DOE and NNSA Should Improve Their Lessons Learned Process for Capital Asset Projects, GAO-19-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 21, 2018)
   Read GAO, Telecommunications: GSA Needs to Share and Prioritize Lessons Learned to Avoid Future Transition Delays, GAO-14-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 5, 2013)
   Read GAO, NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned, GAO-02-195 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 30, 2002).
   Read Center for Army Lessons Learned, Establishing a Lessons Learned Program: Observations, Insights, and Lessons (Fort Leavenworth, KS: June 2011).

Cover Oregon Website Problems Report
   First Data, "Cover Oregon Website Implementation Assessment Report 2014" as Released by Oregon's Governor,” April 23, 2014
   Cover Oregon Report.

Douglas County PUD Agreement with Washington Fish & Wildlife
   Read the IGA.

Albany, OR, Pepsico Inc., Albany Millersburg Economic Development Corp. Oregon Dept. of Transportation, and State of Oregon Development Agreement 2006
   Read the Agreement.

Louisiana Executive Order KBB 05-27 Emergency Procedures for Conducting State Business
   Read the Agreement.

Interagency-Industry Partnership for Performance, “Steps to Performance-Based Acquisition”
   Read the Seven Steps Guide.

Small Business Administration, Complete Guide for Steps to Performance-Based Acquisitions
   Access the Guide.

Texas Comptroller Report 2006
   Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, “Report on the Integrated Eligibility and Enrollment Contract between the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and Accenture LLP,” October 25, 2006
   Strayhorn Report.

Indiana Human Services Contract Case RFP
   Access Indiana RFP 6-58.

Indiana Human Services Contract with IBM
   Access the Master Services Agreement Between Indiana and IBM 2006.