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DISTRICT COURT HOLDS THAT ANY TAA BREACH MUST BE “MATERIAL” FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO RECOVER DAMAGES

Despite the fact that two GSA Schedule contract holders had non-Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant items on their Schedule contract, the government was not harmed because the breach was not “material”, according to a recent US District Court ruling in United States ex rel. Folliard v. Comstor Corp.  “Material” is defined as any noncompliance that has an effect on the government’s payment decisions.  Before Schedule contractors get excited about the  application of this test, though, it is vital to understand that the ruling was limited to the specifics of this case.  Further, the Comstor decision makes it clear that materiality questions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  Other courts could disagree with the District Court’s methodology, as well.  The ruling is also unlikely to have a substantial impact on federal TAA compliance efforts.  Still, contractors that find themselves defending whistleblower suits or audit findings may find the Comstor decision useful.  It shows that simply alleging a technical violation of a statute, regulation, or contract term is insufficient to claim actual harm to the government.  Any whistleblower or DOJ attorney must be able to show that the government actually suffered harm as a result of the violation.  Overall, it is best to make sure that your TAA compliance efforts remain robust and to use the Comstor decision only if required.

COULD DOD REALLY CUT HALF OF ITS ACQUISITION REGS?

No fewer than three panels are currently examining DOD acquisition rules to see what can be trimmed, modified or eliminated in the name of more efficient DOD acquisition.  The leader of one group stated recently that his goal is to eliminate or modify fully 50% of rules that currently make up the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR).  That could mean Read more

MAIL BAG: IS TRAINING REALLY REQUIRED FOR SALES PEOPLE SELLING TO FEDERAL?

Sometime reader B. Harper of Washington, D.C. writes, “I own a small business that sells to both commercial and federal accounts.  My sales team can’t specialize on one or the other.  Is it really a big deal if my sales team doesn’t get training on federal?  A sale’s a sale, right?”  Your question is one we’ve heard many times, B, but our answer hasn’t changed:  Letting an untrained sales pro loose on a government account is as sure to backfire on you as Wile E Coyote’s latest attempt to catch the roadrunner.  In the commercial market your pro can make Read more

HOUSE ARMED SERVICES SEEKS TO TRIM DOD “FOURTH ESTATE”

A total of seven central DOD offices would be entirely eliminated and 28 would be streamlined under plans being considered by the House Armed Services CommitteeThe effort comes as Congressional leaders seek to channel defense dollars more directly to service branches and war fighter support and away from a bureaucracy that has, according to the Wall Street JournalRead more