Legal Meets Practical: Accessible Solutions

News in a Nutshell: Crack This Article Open!

Pricey GAO Protest Fee Is Now a Reality

On April 2, the GAO released a final rule implementing its Electronic Protest Docketing System (“EPDS”). As of May 1, EPDS became the “sole means for filing a bid protest at GAO” (with the exception of protests containing classified information). Also, new protest actions are subject to a $350 filing fee, which is refundable only in the instance of delayed corrective action (Corrective action is where an agency decides to fix the issues raised in a protest rather than have the GAO decide the protest on the merits, generally because the agency believes the protestor is right or that taking such action is in the best interest of the procurement protest). Chances are, this will result in a decline in the number of protests filed. The interesting question is whether this will also result in a steep increase in the percentage of protests that are sustained/receive corrective action, since protestors will only risk the dough on stronger cases.

Guilty Plea for Lies to Obtain SDVOSB Set-Aside Contracts

On May 1, the VA’s Office of Inspector General issued a press release relating to an individual who entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to defraud the VA in the performance of 12 contracts (valued at a total of $1.6 million) intended for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSB”). According to the press release, the company at issue falsely claimed that the veteran owner had majority ownership, when in fact this was not true.

This is an interesting case, given that most issues with SDVOSB fraud seem to center on “control;” i.e., the veteran owner not actually being in the driver’s seat in company decisions, working full-time elsewhere, etc. Ownership, control – it doesn’t matter – when you go through the certification process and start winning contracts because your business is “owned” and “controlled” by a veteran, know this is serious business. You can’t fudge anything, or exaggerate – be truthful, be transparent, and disclose all relevant facts bearing on eligibility. It’s not worth getting in hot water later.

Search for New VA Secretary Continues

In late April, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration as President Trump’s nominee to be the next VA Secretary, amid allegations of prior misconduct at the White House medical office where he is physician to the President. Such allegations including improperly prescribing medications, using his position to abuse and denigrate colleagues, and alcohol abuse on the job. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the charges stem from nearly two dozen current and former service members who approached lawmakers without congressional prompting. He said he could not verify the validity of each charge, but the volume of the accusations raised concerns.

As such, the search for a new VA Secretary continues, with candidates including acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, former Florida Rep. Jeff Miller (whose fine work I have blogged about on numerous occasions), and Ron Nichol, a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group. President Trump has indicated he intends to pick someone with a more political background for the role, with the objective of navigating the confirmation process in a divided Senate.

*Did you find this article informative? If so, sign up for Sarah Schauerte’s legal blog on veteran business issues at: http://www.legalmeetspractical.com. Remember to click the link sent to your email to activate your subscription!

One Response to “News in a Nutshell: Crack This Article Open!”

  1. Do these guilty pleas mean jail time? Are they criminal or just civil infractions?

Leave a Reply

Mission Statement

My mission is to provide accessible, high-quality legal services to small business owners and to veterans. I will strive to clearly communicate, understand objectives, and formulate and execute effective legal solutions.

Disclaimer

No Attorney-Client Relationship

This website is maintained exclusively for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the lawyer or her clients. Viewing this site, using information from it, or communicating with Sarah Schauerte through this site by email does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Non-Reliance

Online readers should not act nor decline to act, based on content from this site, without first consulting an attorney or other appropriate professional. Because the law changes frequently, this website's content may not indicate the current state of the law. Nothing on this site is meant to predict or guarantee future results. I am not liable for the use or interpretation of information contained on this website, and expressly disclaim all liability for any actions you take or fail to take, based on this website's content.

Links

I do not necessarily endorse and am not responsible for content accessed through this website's links to other Internet resources. Correctness and adequacy of information on those sites is not guaranteed, and unless otherwise stated, I am not associated with such linked sites.

Contacting Me

You may email me through the email address provided by this site, but information you send through email or this website is not secure and may not be confidential. Communications will not be treated as privileged unless I already represent you. Do not send confidential information until you have established a formal attorney-client relationship with me. Even if I represent you, please understand that email security is still uncertain and that you accept all risks of such uncertainty and potential lack of confidentiality when you send us unencrypted, sensitive, or confidential email. Email from me never constitutes an electronic signature, unless it expressly says so.