Author Archives: Jeffrey Belkin

Jeffrey Belkin
Jeff Belkin is a partner in the firm's Atlanta and Washington, D.C. offices, and is the co-leader of the Construction & Government Contracts Group. Jeff represents contractors in False Claims Act and internal investigations, claims litigation and procurement protests, and advises on complex compliance issues.  Read More

Is a Shakeup Still Imminent for U.S. Domestic Sourcing?

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Following a February 18, 2020 blog post, Jeff Belkin, Mike Mortorano, and MJ Kim explain in Contract Management Magazine how a recent Federal Circuit decision and possible U.S. withdrawal from the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement could impact existing procurement policies and supply chain decisions. Now with the sudden economic devastation brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Trump Administration’s next move is more important than ever. As the U.S. economy falters and stimulus bills are pushed out, the potential implications of withdrawing from the WTO [...]Read more

Are the Stars Aligning for a Major Shakeup of the TAA Domestic Preference Regime?

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Domestic sourcing policies may soon see a major shakeup after a one-two punch this past week from the Trump Administration and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. First, earlier this month, government officials circulated plans for the Trump Administration to issue an Executive Order threatening the U.S.’s withdrawal from the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) unless undisclosed changes favored by the Administration are made. The WTO GPA provides the baseline of international participation in government procurements around the globe, with signatories [...]Read more

Final FAR Council Rule Expands the Scope of GIDEP Screening and Reporting and Effectively Mandates GIDEP Membership for Covered Contractors

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The FAR Council recently issued a Final Rule on the Reporting of Nonconforming Items to the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP) to address supply chain risks from counterfeit and nonconforming goods. The Rule goes into effect on December 23, 2019. While the Final Rule on its face addresses counterfeit and nonconforming parts, the GIDEP program is potentially more onerous than meets-the-eye. GIDEP is a U.S. Government funded and managed voluntary information exchange program among government and industry participants.  Its members include, among others, dozens of government [...]Read more

DOJ Affirms Cooperation Principles in Government Contract Fraud Investigations

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Those of us who have had more than a few discussions with the Civil Fraud Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the years about federal procurement and grant fraud have come away with a clear enough understanding of a few basic principles of cooperation. First, while it is cliché to say that the “multiple” on single damages that the DOJ might demand in settlement of a civil False Claims Act (FCA) case varies depending on the circumstances, the general understanding is that if a defendant settles at or before the time the DOJ must file its complaint, then the DOJ may be more willing [...]Read more

The Federal Government Procurement Process Could Go Digital

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In order to keep up with online marketplaces available at the “one touch” of a smartphone, the federal government is doing its part to bring its procurement process into the digital age. Legislation passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives would allow the U.S. military and civilian government agencies to buy products directly from new online marketplaces instead of following the current procurement process for purchases above the “micro-purchase” threshold (i.e., a few thousand dollars). The newly proposed process would present many opportunities for online retailers and [...]Read more

DOJ Continues to Crack Down on SBA Fraud

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On April 25, 2017, the DOJ announced that Michelle Cho, an officer of Far East Construction Corporation and other companies, received both prison time and civil penalties for her involvement as the mastermind of a fraudulent scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) program. Under this scheme, Cho would bid for set-aside contracts for small, disadvantaged businesses under the SBA 8(a) program. However, Cho’s companies would not perform this work. Instead, other large companies would perform this work and pay 3 percent of the proceeds to Cho’s companies. This is another [...]Read more

The Trump Administration’s Move Toward Pro-Employer Policies

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On March 27, 2017, President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 37 under the Congressional Review Act, which in essence blocked the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (the “Blacklisting Rule”) signed by President Obama. By signing this Resolution, the Blacklisting Rule and the Department of Labor guidance remain in place, but as a practical matter will not be enforced by the Trump Administration. This Resolution will have minimal impact on government contractors in the short term since the Eastern District of Texas already issued a preliminary injunction in 2016 enjoining the implementation [...]Read more

Law360 Publishes Article on Kingdomware by Jeff Belkin and Breana Ware

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On June 21, 2016, Law360 published the article “High Court Boosts Veterans Contracts in Kingdomware” written by Jeff Belkin and Breana Ware. In this article, Jeff and Breana discuss the issues at hand in the recent unanimous decision for the U.S. Supreme Court in Kingdomware Technologies Inc. v. United States, No. 14-916. As indicated by Jeff and Breana, this ruling will have a significant impact on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ procurement process; on current and future protests before the Government Accountability Office regarding the VA’s use, or nonuse, of the Rule of Two; [...]Read more

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Significant False Claims Act Case

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Our colleagues Jackie Baratian and Jason Popp summarize here the oral argument for Universal Health Services v. United Sates ex rel. Escobar heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 19th, laying out the various arguments presented by counsel and addressed by the Justices.  As they note, much of the argument focused on the Restatement of Contracts, as a source of “fraud” in contracting common law, to help draw a distinction between an implied promise and an immaterial unspoken performance detail.  The Justices also took note of the decision in Halper, in which the Supreme Court in [...]Read more

Is the False Claims Act Becoming a Catch-All Penalty for Any and Every Contractual Breach?

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A recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement announcement suggests that the government intends to continue to use the False Claims Act (FCA), rather than more traditional breach of contract or tort claims or regulatory authority, to administer its contracts. On March 7, 2016, the DOJ announced its $3 million settlement with ArmorSource LLC to resolve FCA allegations against the company. ArmorSource contracted with the U.S. Army in 2006 to provide ballistic helmets for combat. In 2010, the Army recalled the helmets after rounds of failed ballistic safety tests. The government alleged that from [...]Read more