8(a) Joint Venture Fraud Allegations Lead to False Claims Act Settlement

The SBA’s joint venture rules can be strict. Mistakes like failing to update a joint venture agreement, inserting ambiguous provisions in a joint venture agreement, or relying on an expired mentor-protege agreement can be costly.

Good faith mistakes are one thing–the joint venture may lose out on a contract, but probably won’t face other penalties. But when the government believes that a contractor knowingly violated the joint venture rules, the repercussions can be much more serious–as seen in a recent False Claims Act settlement involving allegations of fraud under the 8(a) joint venture regulations.

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Event: Service Contract Act & Davis-Bacon Act “101”

The Biden administration recently announced plans to increase enforcement of the federal prevailing wage laws for contractors–the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act. Non-compliance with these laws can be grounds for severe sanctions. (Heck, the DOJ just announced another False Claims Act settlement in a prevailing wage case yesterday!)

If you’re new to the world of prevailing wage laws, or just need a refresher, please join me on March 18 for an introductory “101” look at the SCA and DBA, hosted by the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network. It’s easy to register: just click here.

Hope to see you on the 18th!

Agency Reasonably Accepted Awardee’s 91% Price Premium, GAO Says

When it comes to “best value” evaluations, agencies ordinarily have broad discretion to accept higher-rated, higher-priced proposals.

How broad is that discretion? Well, in one recent case, the GAO held that an agency reasonably accepted the awardee’s higher-rated proposal, despite a whopping 91% price premium.

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Event: Small Business Updates at the Alliance Northwest Conference

The last few months have seen a whirlwind of changes in the government contracting rules for small businesses–everything from rules governing joint ventures to WOSB certification to the requirement for government-wide SDVOSB verification, and much more.

If your head is spinning trying to keep up with all the recent changes, I’m here to help! On March 11, I’ll present a plain-English overview of some of the most important small business changes as part of the Alliance Northwest Conference.

Alliance is one of my favorite annual events, and it’s all-virtual this year–so even if you aren’t located in the Pacific Northwest, you should check it out. Hope to “see” you there!

Coming Next Week: Koprince Law LLC’s New 8(a) Program GovCon Handbook!

The 8(a) Program is tremendously powerful and can be a springboard to massive success in the government contracts marketplace. But the many (many!) rules surrounding the 8(a) Program are complex, and even savvy 8(a) contractors–not to mention first-time applicants–easily can become confused.

I am pleased to announce that next week, Koprince Law LLC will publish a Second Edition of our popular GovCon Handbook on the 8(a) Program. In this revised, updated and expanded Handbook, my colleague Nicole Pottroff and I will cover the 8(a) Program’s rules in detail, including:

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No Protests of SBA Mentor-Protégé Agreements, Says OHA

The SBA’s mentor-protégé program offers powerful benefits. To help ensure that only legitimate small businesses take advantage of the program, the SBA asks applicants a series of questions about potential affiliation between the prospective mentor and protégé.

But once the SBA signs off on a mentor-protégé agreement, that’s that. As the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently confirmed, competitors cannot use the size protest process to challenge whether an SBA mentor-protégé agreement should have been approved in the first place.

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CPARS Challenges: No Appeals Without Contracting Officer Claim

Ask many government contractors, and they’ll tell you that even a single negative report in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System can have a powerful adverse impact on winning future prime contracts.

Given the importance of these performance reports, it’s little wonder that a contractor on the receiving end of a negative CPAR may want to ask a judge to review the matter. But as one recent case demonstrates, a contractor cannot challenge a CPAR with a judge until the contractor has followed the FAR’s claims process.

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