Procurement Integrity Act (PIA) Defense Lawyers Help Federal Contractors and Individuals Seeking to Avoid Costly Fines and Liability for PIC Violations. 

Federal Procurement Integrity Act Defense Lawyers

The Procurement Integrity Act addresses the forbidden release of source selection information and or information about contractors’ proposals and bidding information.  See 41 USC 423. The PIA also addresses the conduction of former government employees who served in specific government positions on a procurement action or contract over $10 million. The employee cannot serve as an employee or consultant to the contractor in question. PIA statutes monitor the federal procurement process and how government and contractor personnel conduct business.

When government employees or contractors have violated the Procurement Integrity Act is very fact-specific. Being involved in a government investigation can be very daunting and stressful. Contractors and personnel found to have violated the Procurement Integrity Act can find themselves losing the contract, subject to hefty civil fines on facing jail time.

Types of Cases We Handle

Experienced Procurement Integrity Act Defense Lawyers

The government contract defense attorneys at Watson & Associates help individuals and contractors to defend against allegations of Federal Procurement Integrity Act violations and Anti-kickback Act violations under 41 USC 423. Whether you are subject to a federal investigation, facing possible criminal indictment before a Grand Jury, bidding on federal projects using strategic sourcing or otherwise needing help with procurement management policies and controls, our False claims and contractor criminal defense lawyers understand the landmines that await clients in the process.  

Important Federal Procurement PolicyAct 41 USC 423 & FAR 3.104 Anti kickback Act Provisions

Understanding the Procurement Integrity Act violations can save you criminal liability and fines.

The Federal Procurement Policy act 41 USC 423, was revised by Section 4304 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996. Revisions to the Act became effective January 1, 1997 and focus on key points in the procurement process. The PIA also provides that “[a] person shall not, other than as provided by law, knowingly obtain contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of a Federal agency procurement contract to which the information relates.” 41 USC 423 (b).

Federal regulation and FAR 3.104-3(a) dictates that a contracting officer who receives or obtains information of a possible violation of the Federal Procurement Integrity Act must determine if the possible violation has any impact on the pending award or selection of the contractor.

If the contracting officer concludes that a violation may impact the procurement, the contracting officer is required to report the matter to the head of the contracting activity (HCA). FAR 3.104-7(b).

The HCA must review the information and take appropriate action, which includes either:

  1. advising the contracting officer to proceed with the procurement;
  2. beginning an investigation;
  3. referring information to appropriate criminal investigative agencies;
  4. concluding that a violation occurred; or
  5. recommend to the agency head that a violation has occurred and void or rescind the contract.

The Justice Acquisition Regulation (JAR) further directs the contracting officer to refer possible violations of the Federal Procurement Integrity Act prosecutions to the DOJ OIG. JAR sect. 2803.104-10.

What is Contractor Bid Proposal Information Under the PIA?

PIA defines “contractor bid or proposal information” as:

(A) Cost or pricing data (as defined in section 2306a(h) of title 10 with respect to procurements subject to that section and section 3501(a) of this title with respect to procurements subject to that section).

(B) Indirect costs and direct labor rates.

(C) Proprietary information about manufacturing processes, operations, or techniques marked by the contractor in accordance with applicable law or regulation.

(D) Information marked by the contractor as “contractor bid or proposal information”, in accordance with applicable law or regulation.

and “source selection information” as:

(A) Bid prices submitted in response to a Federal agency solicitation for sealed bids, or lists of those bid prices before public bid opening.

(B) Proposed costs or prices submitted in response to a Federal agency solicitation, or lists of those proposed costs or prices.

(C) Source selection plans.

(D) Technical evaluation plans.

(E) Technical evaluations of proposals.

(F) Cost or price evaluations of proposals.

(G) Competitive range determinations that identify proposals that have a reasonable chance of being selected for award of a contract.

(H) Rankings of bids, proposals, or competitors.

(I) Reports and evaluations of source selection panels, boards, or advisory councils.

(J) Other information marked as “source selection information” based on a case-by-case determination by the head of the agency, the head’s designee, or the contracting officer that its disclosure would jeopardize the integrity or successful completion of the Federal agency procurement to which the information relates.

See. 41 U.S.C. § 2101(2), (7).

Does Receiving a Government Estimate Fit Within “Source Selection Information?

In the case of CLC Construction Company, ASBCA No. 59110, the court found that this estimate does not fit within the definition of “source selection information” set forth in PIA. The court reasoned that because the plain language of the statutory text of § 2107(a) of the PIA, which includes express definitions of “source selection information” does not include the government estimate, then this information does not apply. See als0 United States v. Bowling, 108 F. Supp. 3d 343, 348 (E.D.N.C. 2015). 

41 USC 423 Defense and Help For Federal Employees in the Procurement Process

Under the PIA, Federal employees who are involved in federal contracting procurements, strategic sourcing, and the administration of procurements over $100,000 must report contacts with bidders or offerors regarding future employment to their supervisors. Under the Procurement Integrity Act 41 USC 423, they must also disqualify themselves from further participation if they do not immediately reject the contact.

Government contractors must avoid gaining sensitive information from procurement officials since it can create a more advantageous opportunity for your company. The Washington, DC government contracts attorneys at Watson & Associates can help with Procurement Integrity Act Violations and Conflicts of Interest by the government.

Help With Federal Procurement Policy Act Violations and Investigations

GAO Bid Protest Regulations and the statutory Federal Procurement Policy Act provisions require–as a condition precedent to our consideration of an alleged violation–that a protester has reported the matter to the contracting agency within 14 days of becoming aware of the possible violation.  This 14‑day reporting requirement affords procuring agencies an opportunity to timely investigate alleged improprieties before completing a procurement and, in appropriate circumstances, to take remedial action. See 41 USC 423 (e)(3); Honeywell Tech. Solutions, Inc., B-400771, B-400771.2, Jan. 27, 2009, 2009 CPD para. 49 at 9. At Watson & Associates, LLC our PIA attorneys also defend contractors and individuals in criminal cases.

FAR 3.104-8 Criminal and Civil Penalties, and Allowable Administrative Remedies

IAW FAR 3.104-8 on Acquisition.gov Criminal and civil penalties, and administrative remedies, may apply to conduct that violates 41 U.S.C. chapter 21 (see 3.104-3). See 33.102(f) for special rules regarding bid protests. See 3.104-7 for administrative remedies relating to contracts.

      (a) An official who knowingly fails to comply with the requirements of 3.104-3 is subject to the penalties and administrative action set forth in 41 U.S.C. 2105.

      (b) An offeror who engages in employment discussion with an official subject to the restrictions of 3.104-3, knowing that the official has not complied with 3.104-3(c)(1), is subject to the criminal, civil, or administrative penalties set forth in 41 U.S.C. 2105.

      (c) An official who refuses to terminate employment discussions (see 3.104-5) may be subject to agency administrative actions under 5 CFR 2635.604(d) if the official’s disqualification from participation in a particular procurement interferes substantially with the individual’s ability to perform assigned duties.

PIA Criminal Penalties

A person that violates section 2102 of this title to exchange information covered by section 2102 of this title for anything of value or to obtain or give a person a competitive advantage in the award of a Federal agency procurement contract shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.

PIA Civil Penalties

The Attorney General may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States against a person that engages in conduct that violates section 2102, 2103, or 2104 of this title. On proof of that conduct by a preponderance of the evidence—
(1)an individual is liable to the Federal Government for a civil penalty of not more than $50,000 for each violation plus twice the amount of compensation that the individual received or offered for the prohibited conduct; and
(2)an organization is liable to the Federal Government for a civil penalty of not more than $500,000 for each violation plus twice the amount of compensation that the organization received or offered for the prohibited conduct.

Call Our Procurement Integrity Act Defense Lawyers

Please contact the government contract defense lawyers at Watson & Associates, LLC regarding any legal matter related to the Federal Procurement Integrity Act 41 USC 423, strategic sourcing or  Anti kickback Act on a federal government contracts project. Our Procurement Integrity Act lawyers can be reached toll-free at 866-601-5518.