SBA OHA Rejects “Chain Affiliation” Theory

Ordinarily, a company isn’t affiliated with the affiliates of its affiliates.

That sentence may sound a little silly, but it encapsulates an important principle about the breadth of the SBA’s affiliation rules.  As demonstrated in a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, the SBA doesn’t apply its rules to create “chain affiliation.”

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SBA May Eliminate 8(a) Joint Venture Approvals

The SBA is considering eliminating the requirement that contractors obtain the SBA’s prior approval to joint venture for 8(a) contracts.

There’s no doubt that eliminating the approval requirement would reduce burdens and expenses for 8(a) companies and their joint venture partners–but it could also lead to an uptick in sustained protests against 8(a) joint ventures.

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SBA Plans to Consolidate All Small and 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Programs

The SBA plans to issue a proposed rule consolidating the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program and the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program.

According to a recent SBA publication in the Federal Register, the SBA has had a change of heart about whether it is necessary to run two similar mentor-protégé programs–one for everybody, and another only for 8(a) firms.

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Populated or Unpopulated? Ambiguous JV Agreement Sinks 8(a) Award

An 8(a) joint venture agreement was ambiguous about whether the joint venturers intended to create a populated joint venture (which is no longer allowed) or an unpopulated joint venture–and the ambiguity cost the joint venture an 8(a) set-aside contract.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims upheld the SBA’s decision to reject a joint venture agreement that was ambiguous about whether the joint venture was populated or unpopulated.

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Let’s Replace SBA Small Business Goaling Grades with Participation Trophies

For Fiscal Year 2017, SBA’s small business goaling scorecard awarded 21 agencies grades of “A+” or “A” for their small business contracting and subcontracting.  Two agencies received a “B” and a single, lonely agency brought up the rear with a “C.”  Not one agency received a grade below “C,” even agencies that missed most of their small business goals.

It was a “record breaking” performance, to hear SBA tell it.  But these inflated grades do a disservice to the public and government alike.  So long as almost everyone is going to get a top grade anyway, I say we just replace next year’s SBA goaling grades with agency participation trophies.

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SmallGovCon Week in Review: May 21 – 25, 2018

Memorial Day is almost here, which means the unofficial start of summer. I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend while remembering all the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.

In this week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, two Topeka men were named in a scheme to fraudulently obtain government contracts set aside for minority and disabled military veteran contractors, contractors argue that a Pentagon proposal to curb bid protests would deny fair access of companies seeking relief from potentially unjustified awards, and much more (including some special pre-holiday snarky commentary by yours truly).

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Thank You, DOE Small Businesses!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to Houston, where I spoke at the DOE 17th Annual Small  Business Forum & Expo.  My breakout session on the Top 10 Legal Issues for Small Contractors covered a range of topics from enhanced debriefings to joint ventures.

A big thank you to Earl Morgan, Anita Anderson, and all the other organizers of this outstanding event.  And thank you, also, to everyone who attended my session and stuck around afterward to ask questions.

I’ll be in Wichita on June 5 to present a much longer version (a half-day!) of the Top 10 Legal Issues seminar.  To register, visit the Kansas PTAC website.  I hope to see you there!