DOJ Announces Government Procurement Collusion Strike Force

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

New strike force to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute government procurement antitrust crimes.

TAKEAWAYS

  • The new Procurement Collusion Strike Force will focus on antitrust crimes, such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes.
  • It will consist of prosecutors from DOJ’s Antitrust Division and from 13 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, as well as investigators from the FBI and federal Offices of Inspector General.
  • The strike force will work together to conduct outreach and training for procurement officials and government contractors on antitrust risks in the procurement process.

On November 5, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the formation of a new Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF) focusing on deterring, detecting, investigating and prosecuting antitrust crimes, such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes, which undermine competition in government procurement, grant and program funding.

In the announcement, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen stated the PCSF was an effort to “eliminate anticompetitive collusion, waste and abuse from government procurement.” He added that “[t]o ensure taxpayers the full benefits of competitive bidding, experienced investigators and prosecutors with the necessary expertise will partner in this Strike Force to deter, detect and prosecute antitrust crimes and related schemes in government procurements.”

The PCSF will be an interagency partnership consisting of prosecutors from the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and from 13 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, as well as investigators from the FBI and federal Offices of Inspector General. The PCSF will lead a national effort to protect taxpayer-funded projects at the federal, state and local level from antitrust violations and related crimes, starting with a focus on 13 districts throughout the country. The PCSF also will conduct outreach and training for procurement officials and government contractors on antitrust risks in the procurement process. In addition, the partnered prosecutors and investigators will jointly investigate and prosecute cases that result from their targeted outreach efforts.

The creation of the PCSF signals the government’s renewed focus on the propriety of the federal procurement process and the ubiquitous risk of government enforcement actions for contractors. To minimize such risks, contractors should consider revisiting existing antitrust compliance and training programs.

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