Alexander Hastings

Alexander Hastings

Alex Hastings is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Litigation practice group.

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Trump’s Commitment Against Human Trafficking Brings Greater Uncertainty for Contractors

Last Thursday, President Trump and his senior advisors met with representatives of organizations committed to fighting human trafficking. As reported by several news outlets (e.g., AP, NYT, and Reuters), the President stated during the meeting that he would commit the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government against what he views as an “epidemic” of … Continue Reading

The More You Know: Agencies Advised to Increase Use of Post-Award Debriefings

On January 5, 2017, as part of its “myth-busting” series, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (“OFPP”) issued a memorandum encouraging federal agencies to improve their post-award debriefings to increase their “productive interactions with . . . industry partners.” Based on feedback from industry and federal agencies, the OFPP described the numerous benefits of effective … Continue Reading

New Guidance on Contractor Risk Management Under the Human Trafficking Rule Released

On December 7, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Labor, and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Department of State, issued a proposed memorandum titled “Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices & Mitigation Considerations.”  The document is intended, at least in part, to “promote clarity and consistency in … Continue Reading

The GAO Is Not Down With OFCCP: Report Criticizes Agency’s “Weak” Compliance Evaluations and May Trigger Increased Contractor Oversight

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) recently released a study of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (“OFCCP” or the “Agency”) oversight functions for fiscal years 2010 to 2015.  GAO’s report explains that “OFCCP has not found violations in the vast majority of its compliance evaluations,” noting that in the time period GAO studied, OFCCP … Continue Reading

Changes to Small Business Subcontracting On the Horizon

Last week, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Council issued a Final Rule to implement regulations adopted by the Small Business Administration in 2013.  The Final Rule significantly amends FAR Parts 19 and 52 by imposing additional small business-related obligations on prime contractors and clarifying the consequences of failing to satisfy those obligations.  The Final Rule … Continue Reading

Supreme Court on False Claims Act: Implied Certification OK, But Materiality Is No Gimme

Last week, in Universal Health Services Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the viability of the “implied false certification” theory of False Claims Act liability, at least in certain circumstances.  Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Thomas explained that a defendant can face FCA liability under an implied certification theory … Continue Reading

Sample Human Trafficking Compliance Plan Finally Released

This week, the Department of State (“State”), Verité, and other global NGOs, unveiled a sample human trafficking compliance plan and online resource to help contractors comply with the FAR’s anti-human trafficking rule (the “Rule”).  As we have previously summarized, the Rule requires contractors to implement a compliance plan for contracts exceeding $500,000 that are for … Continue Reading

Proposed Definition of “Recruitment Fees” Published

DoD, GSA, and NASA published a definition of “recruitment fees” for purposes of FAR 52.222-50 in today’s Federal Register.  As we have previously discussed, the anti-trafficking requirements in FAR 52.222-50 were amended almost a year and a half ago to prohibit contractors from charging employees recruitment fees, without defining such fees.  Subsequent efforts to define … Continue Reading

Human Trafficking Model Compliance Plan and Internet-Based Compliance Tools Set for Release this Month

The Department of State (“State”) recently announced the upcoming release of the model anti-human trafficking compliance plan. State and Verité, a global NGO, developed this highly-anticipated model compliance plan in response to the amendments to FAR 52.222-50, which require contractors to perform supply chain due diligence and implement a compliance plan for contracts exceeding $500,000 … Continue Reading

Non-TAA-Compliant Covered Drugs Must be Offered to the VA in the Coming Weeks

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) recently announced a significant change in policy that will allow it to purchase drug products that were previously unavailable due to the Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”) because they were manufactured in countries with whom the United States does not have a procurement agreement in place.  The VA … Continue Reading

DoD IG Report Reveals Ongoing Struggles in IT-Acquisition Reform

IT-acquisition reform remains an area of ongoing concern for Federal agencies and government contractors.  Indeed, as we previously discussed, the GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its bi-annual list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  Strengthened by Congress’ passage in December 2014 of the … Continue Reading

Congress Advances Efforts to Define “Recruitment Fees” as the Department of State Prepares a Model Anti-Human Trafficking Compliance Plan

Almost one year after the amendments to the FAR’s anti-human trafficking rule went into effect, Congress is showing signs of bi-partisan support for enforcement of human trafficking prohibitions through the House’s passage of the Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act (H.R. 400) (the “Act”).  As we have previously discussed, the Act would require the … Continue Reading

Federal Felony Convictions and Delinquent Taxes Must be Reported Under New FAR Rule

Three major agencies—the Department of Defense (“DoD”), NASA, and the General Services Administration (“GSA”)—have published an interim rule that will require contractors to report federal felony convictions and delinquent taxes when responding to solicitations.  The rule implements requirements imposed by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, Pub. L. 113-235 (the “CFCAA”) and … Continue Reading

DoD Issues Final Rule Addressing Exclusion of Contractors that Present Supply Chain Risk in National Security System Procurements

On October 30, 2015, the Department of Defense (“DoD” or the “Department”) issued a Final Rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) and clarifying the scope of the DoD’s ability to evaluate and exclude contractors that represent “supply chain risks” in solicitations and contracts involving the development or delivery of IT products and … Continue Reading

OMB Issues Final Guidance Implementing FITARA

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has issued final guidance (the “Guidance”) implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).  We have previously discussed FITARA’s requirements that seek to reform and streamline the Government’s information technology (“IT”) acquisitions, which account for approximately $80 billion in annual spending. At its core, the Guidance implements the … Continue Reading

Renewed Pressure to Definitize Letter Contracts

Earlier this week, the GAO issued a report to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees regarding the Air Force’s compliance with definitization and reporting requirements associated with the use of undefinitized contract actions (“UCAs”).  UCAs, which commonly take the form of letter contracts, allow contractors to begin performance and seek payment before all … Continue Reading

GAO Reports Highlight Ongoing Struggles in Reforming IT Acquisitions and Operations

As federal agencies are slated to spend almost $80 billion on federal information technology (“IT”) acquisitions this fiscal year and the OMB prepares to issue its final guidance on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), GAO has released two reports this month that discuss ongoing efforts to improve IT procurement.  Combined with GAO’s recent addition … Continue Reading

Federal Agencies Join Forces to Procure Solar Electricity

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), U.S. Forest Service, Department of Energy, and General Services Administration (“GSA”) released a final solicitation for the Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Project (“FASPP”).  Through the FASPP, these agencies seek to acquire cost-effective solar electricity at nine federal sites located throughout northern California and northern Nevada.  The … Continue Reading

Efforts to Define Recruitment Fees Move Forward as Newly-Revised Human Trafficking Rule Goes into Effect

Late last week the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved H.R. 400, which would require the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to propose a definition of recruitment fees within 180 days of the statute’s enactment.  H.R. 400 explains that “contractors sometimes employ foreign workers who are citizens neither of … Continue Reading

IT Acquisitions and Operations Added to GAO’s List of High-Risk Programs

GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  This biennial list contains GAO’s analysis of newly- and previously-added high-risk programs and recommendations for improving their economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. In adding IT Acquisitions and Operations to this list, … Continue Reading

First Lead IG Designated Under Amended Inspector General Act

As federal spending for Operation Inherent Resolve surpasses the $1 billion mark, the U.S. military campaign against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria has a new oversight team.  Late last month, the Honorable Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General for the Department of Defense (“DoD”), was designated lead inspector general (“IG”) for this overseas contingency operation.  … Continue Reading
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