Definitize /de-fə-nə-ˌtīz/: A govcon way of saying to make definite. The Definitizer focuses on news and issues in the realm of government contracting to (hopefully) bring a bit more definition to an often murky world.

What? I'm on YouTube?

Here's a cautionary tale that demonstrates why a strong compliance culture is crucial to the protection of your business - your actions might just wind up on YouTube.

Every week I get my e-newsletter from the ABA Journal. It usually offers a tidbit or two detailing lawyer missteps that made the news (may my name never show up!). Today's email recounted a real gotcha kind of story that was covered by the New York Times and 60 Minutes.

It seems that a UK-based watchdog organization, Global Witness, decided to see if NY business lawyers would represent a potentially less-than-reptutable, but wealthy, West African "minister of mines." The minister, according to his putative representative, wanted to anonymously acquire a Manhattan brownstone, a used jet and a yacht. These kinds of anonymous purchases have been raising questions because some suspect that these purchases are little more than thinly veiled attempts to launder the ill gotten gains of wealthy foreigners.

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Why bid protests are a good thing...

It's not unusual to hear complaints about the seemingly rampant abuse of the right to file bid protests. Sure there are cases where much-needed procurements get derailed for years. How long did the war over the KC-X tanker contract last???

Protests, however, serve a vital role in preserving the integrity and fairness of the procurement system. The need to keep the system fair doesn't mean that it is riddled with corruption. Rather, many decisions that sustain protests are about fixing relatively simple (and human) glitches that occur during the course of evaluations. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued an opinion that did just that when it sustained the Protest of Triad International Maintenance Corporation, No. B-408374 (September 5, 2013).  

Triad International Maintenance Corporation (TIMCO) protested the award of an aircraft structural inspection and maintenance contract by the United States Coast Guard to DRS Technical Services, Inc. (DRS). The contract to be awarded was intended to replace two existing contracts involving essentially the same work. TIMCO was the incumbent on one of the contracts; DRS was the incumbent on the other. The new contract was to be awarded to the contractor whose proposal would provide the best value to the Government on the basis of its evaluation of four factors in descending order of importance: (1) technical capability, (2) relevant past performance, (3) management, and (4) price. The technical capability rating would be determined on the basis of seven equally weighted factors, two of which involved corporate and technical experience. Price was to be evaluated to determine whether the offered prices were reasonable and balanced.

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Obama to Contractors: Time to Get Serious about Human Trafficking

A few weeks ago, President Obama appeared before the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual gathering in New York and in his remarks forcefully spoke out on the issue of human trafficking that he said “must be called by its true name—modern slavery.”

Among the initiatives that the President commented on, he announced that “as one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the world the United States Government will lead by example.” To accomplish that, the President issued an Executive Order (EO) that same day mandating new obligations to protect against human trafficking.

Presently, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provide that neither contractors nor their employees shall “[e]ngage in severe forms of trafficking in persons during the period of performance of the contract.” FAR 52.222-50 (contract clause that is required in federal contracts by FAR 22.1705(a)). “Severe forms of trafficking in persons” includes sex trafficking or the use of force, fraud or coercion to “subject” a person to “involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” In addition, the FAR further prohibits contractors from procuring commercial sex acts or making use of forced labor to perform the contract.” Contractors further are required to “flow down” these policies to their subcontractors as well as notify their own employees about them. If a contractor learns of any information that suggests that violations may have occurred, the contractor must notify its contracting officer immediately and inform him or her about what actions the contractor has taken in response. The Contracting Officer then may impose a number of sanctions for violations such as suspending payments, terminating the contract, or suspension or debarment from further government contracts.

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Welcome to and the WR Blog. I guess you won't be surprised to learn that I will be blogging about law stuff, particularly changes in the law that affect my clients--companies that do business with the government.  Whether your company is just starting out, is growing, or is well established, you're probably interested in a lot more than the law. It's true for me too. So, I won't keep my head stuck in law books and courtrooms. I'll also keep my eye on what's happening on the Hill, in politics, and in the world of business.

If you want more information about a topic, drop me an email using my contact form. If you like something (or not), post a comment. Either way, it would be great to hear from you.

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