WOSB Program: 2015 NDAA Eliminates Self-Certification

With little fanfare, Congress just passed legislation eliminating the ability of WOSBs to self-certify for purposes of WOSB set-aside contracts.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act rewrites the portion of the Small Business Act governing WOSB set-asides, deleting what I have called the “trust but verify” option: the ability for putative WOSBs to self-certify as such, then back up their self-certifications by submitting supporting documentation to the WOSB Document Repository.  Instead, the 2015 NDAA would appear to require a formal certification in order for a small business to be awarded a WOSB set-aside contract.

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Thank You, Veterans!

I am back in the Midwest after traveling to Atlanta last week for the National Veterans Small Business Engagement.  This annual event was everything it was cracked up to be, featuring an incredible array of government officials, veteran-owned businesses, large prime contractors, and industry leaders.

Thank you to everyone who attended my learning session on GAO bid protests–you were a very engaged audience.  Thank you, as well, to the organizers of the event, who assembled an outstanding variety of sessions and kept everything running very smoothly.

Thanks also to all of my veteran-owned clients and contacts who attended from all over the country.  It was good to see so many familiar faces, and in some cases to put faces to names for the first time.  And most importantly, for all the veterans who attended (and those who were unable to do so this year), thank you for your service to our country.

HUBZone Fraud: Government Alleges “Virtual Office” Scheme

A HUBZone contractor has been accused of HUBZone program fraud for allegedly falsely claiming to be located in a HUBZone, when in fact the office in question was a “virtual office” where no employees worked.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the contractor not only misrepresented its principal office location, but submitted a fabricated lease to the SBA as part of its HUBZone application.

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VA CVE Dodges A Bullet: 2015 NDAA Omits SBA Verification Transfer

The VA CVE appears to have survived a Congressional effort to strip the CVE of its verification function.

In May, the House of Representatives included a provision in the 2015 NDAA that would have required the CVE to transfer SDVOSB verification to the SBA.  But after negotiations with the Senate, the House passed a new version of the 2015 NDAA last week–and the new version omits the verification transfer provision.

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8(a) Mentor-Protege JVs: Faulty JV Agreement Results In Affiliation

An 8(a) program protege was deemed affiliated with its mentor–and ineligible for a small business set-aside contract–because the joint venture agreement between the mentor and protege failed to comply with certain mandatory 8(a) joint venture requirements.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals concluded that an 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture was not entitled to take advantage of the special exception from affiliation because of the flaws in its joint venture agreement.  OHA’s decision is an important reminder to 8(a) mentors and proteges of the critical importance of strictly complying with the 8(a) joint venture regulation.

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Agency Doesn’t Make SBA COC Referral; GAO Sustains Protest

A procuring agency erred by essentially assigning a small business a failing past performance score without referring the matter to the SBA.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the assignment of a failing past performance score under a past/fail system constituted a non-responsibility determination–and that the SBA was entitled to review the agency’s determination under the SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures.

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PTAC Spotlight: Washington PTAC Offers Broad Experience

Small businesses in Washington State are in luck: a highly experienced PTAC team is available to assist contractors with the ins and outs of federal contracting.

The Washington PTAC currently consists of 14 team members, several of whom were government contracting officers before joining PTAC.  This depth and breadth of knowledge allows the Washington PTAC to provide small businesses with practical advice stemming from real-world experience.

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