Michael Wagner

Michael Wagner

author

Mike Wagner practices in the areas of government contracts and white collar defense and investigations. He has represented clients in the defense and aerospace, pharmaceutical, energy, and mass media industries. Mr. Wagner counsels government contractors on issues arising at all stages of the public procurement process, including contract disputes and administration, corporate acquisitions, False Claims Act compliance, suspension and debarment risks, and bid protest litigation.

Subscribe to all posts by Michael Wagner

Trinity: Divine Fifth Circuit Ruling Gives FCA Defendants Reason for Praise

Last year, the Supreme Court’s watershed Escobar ruling altered the landscape of False Claims Act litigation when it declared that the FCA’s materiality requirement presented a “demanding” barrier to plaintiffs alleging contractual non-compliance. In the 15 months since that time, lower courts have issued a steady stream of rulings interpreting and refining this standard. In … Continue Reading

Introducing Covington’s Escobar Tracker

In Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016), the Supreme Court changed the landscape for False Claims Act litigation. The Court endorsed implied certification liability, but set a high bar for demonstrating the materiality of a violation of law, regulation, or contract to the government’s payment decision. More … Continue Reading

First-To-File Rule of the False Claims Act Continues to Present Interpretive Challenges

Two years ago, when the Supreme Court addressed the “first-to-file” bar of the False Claims Act (FCA) in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Carter, it predicted that its holding might “produce practical problems,” as “[t]he False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions present many interpretive challenges, and it is beyond … 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

Cybersecurity Update: DoD Releases Long-Awaited Final Rule

On October 21, 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued its long-awaited Final Rule—effective immediately—imposing safeguarding and cyber incident reporting obligations on defense contractors whose information systems process, store, or transmit covered defense information (CDI). The Final Rule has been years in the making and is the culmination of an initial rule issued in November … 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

A Job Half-Done? Questions Remain Following State Department’s Announcement of New Debarment Procedures

On March 28, 2015, the Department of State (“State”) issued a proposed rule to update various procedural aspects of the agency’s suspension and debarment actions.  The proposed rule appears intended to streamline the suspension and debarment process and reinforce the independence of the agency’s suspension and debarment official (“SDO”).  Yet despite these laudable aims, the … Continue Reading

Inside New FAR Whistleblower Rule: Key Takeaways for Contractors

On January 22, 2016, the FAR Council published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would impose a government-wide prohibition on contracting with companies that limit the ability of employees or subcontractors to lawfully report fraud, waste, and abuse to the government.  Given the proposed rule’s near-universal application and potentially devastating consequences for violators, contractors would … Continue Reading

Proposed Counterfeit Parts Rule Envisions New Restrictions, Universal Applicability for DoD Contractors

On September 17, 2015, Covington hosted a Symposium in the firm’s Washington office focusing on key trends and emerging issues for government contractors. Both Senator John McCain and former Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the procurement and enforcement challenges faced by the government and contractors, and several panels of leading experts discussed a wide variety … Continue Reading

Updated DoD IG Guidance Signals New Enforcement Emphasis for DCAA Auditors

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (“DoD IG”) appears poised to place new emphasis on the pursuit of fraud cases in certain key enforcement areas, at least according to updated agency guidance recently published online. Earlier this month, the DoD IG quietly revised its “Auditor Fraud Resources” page, intended to serve as guidance … Continue Reading

Self-Reporting Provision at Heart of New Inversion Rules

Last week, the FAR Council issued two final rules designed to reinforce existing restrictions on corporations that relocate overseas in inversion transactions.  The rules, which were issued without change from the proposed and interim rules announced in December 2014, further tighten restrictions on government contracting with inverted domestic corporations (IDCs), but they also impose new … Continue Reading

FAR Council Beefs Up Small Business Subcontracting Rules

The FAR Council has released a proposed rule calling for significant revisions to the provisions in FAR Parts 19 and 52 addressing small business subcontracting plans.  The proposed changes, which are intended to implement regulations adopted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2013, should serve as a not-so-subtle reminder of the range of small … Continue Reading

Doubts Raised About GSA’s New Vision for Federal Contracting

If comments at a recent public meeting are any indication, the General Service Administration’s proposed Transactional Data Reporting rule may be in danger of stalling before it even gets started. The proposed rule, announced to great fanfare last month, has been trumpeted by GSA as a “new vision for Federal purchasing.” During an all-day public … Continue Reading

SBA 8(a) Ruling: Connections Not the Same as Control

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Hearing Appeals (“OHA”) recently issued a ruling affirming the SBA’s termination of a contractor from participation in the 8(a) Business Development Program (“8(a) Program”). Yet the OHA’s opinion in The DESA Group, Inc., SBA No. BDPT-543 (2015), is notable not for this conclusion, but rather for the discussion that … Continue Reading

FAR Council Proposes New Rules on Inverted Corporations; Congress Voices Support

The FAR Council recently announced two new rulemaking actions aimed at further tightening restrictions on the award of federal contracts to companies that have relocated overseas in inversion transactions.  The two rules — one interim, one proposed — would reinforce the existing ban on contracting with so-called “inverted domestic corporations” (IDCs), while also imposing new, … Continue Reading

Proposed Rule Would Publicize Contractor Affiliate Relationships

The DoD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that, if adopted, would greatly increase visibility into affiliate relationships among entities that hold federal contracts.  Under the proposed rule, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (“FAPIIS”) would be required to include information identifying any immediate owner or subsidiary of an offeror, as … Continue Reading

Changes Ahead for TRICARE Managed Care Support Program?

In a move that signals the start of the acquisition cycle for the DOD’s largest purchased care contract, the Defense Health Agency (“DHA”) has released a draft RFP for the next generation of TRICARE Managed Care Support (“MCS”) contracts.  The TRICARE program, which provides health care services to nearly 10 million servicemembers and their families across … Continue Reading

Government Looking to Existing Procurement Vehicles to Stem Ebola Threat

As the U.S. government works to address the threat posed by the Ebola virus, one tool available to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in this effort is a broad agency announcement (BAA) originally issued in 2009 as a means of accelerating the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent and treat … Continue Reading

Will the “Inversion” Backlash Flow-Down to Subcontractors?

Washington policymakers are criticizing corporate “inversions”—i.e., U.S. companies that reincorporate abroad under lower corporate income tax rates—and contractors should take note.  Currently, U.S. law bars an inverted domestic corporation (“IDC”) from receiving funds under a prime U.S. contract.  See Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (H.R. 3547); see also FAR 9.108-2.  On July 29, 2014, lawmakers proposed a bill—the … Continue Reading
LexBlog