Government Contract Compliance

For more than 20 years, Seyfarth Shaw’s Government Contracts practice group has been a leader in advising and training clients on government contract compliance.

We help clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies to design and maintain effective compliance programs and to demonstrate their corporate responsibility to Government procurement officials. We literally “wrote the book” on this subject, The Government Contract Compliance Handbook, which Thomson-West first published in 1988, and is now in its fourth edition. 

As the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, the United States Government offers tremendous business opportunities for companies in a variety of industries.  Even during an economic downturn, the Federal Government awards billions of dollars in contracts for supplies, services, infrastructure, and other projects to private sector companies, often making the Federal Government the customer of first resort.

Companies who are new to Government contracting will find that complicated rules apply to doing business with the Government, including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and special FAR agency supplements. Penalties for wrongdoing, or even for negligent non-compliance, can include fines and imprisonment, as well as debarment from obtaining Federal contracts for up to three years.

Recently, the Government added to these regulations by requiring contractors who receive awards of more than $5 million to have a written Code of Business Ethics and Conduct and to implement Internal Control Systems to insure compliance. Effective December, 2008, the Government requires certain contractors to make Mandatory Disclosure if the company has “credible evidence” of crimes, false claims violations, and overpayments related to a Government contract. The Mandatory Disclosure rule applies to commercial item contractors and non-commercial item contractors, and to contracts performed both in and outside the U.S. The Mandatory Disclosure rule also requires Government contractors to include the disclosure requirement in subcontracts of $5 million or more.  

To succeed in the Government contract market, experienced contractors, as well as those who are new to public sector contracting, must understand the rules, implement programs to ensure that employees follow the rules, and establish internal controls to monitor compliance.