Agencies Step Up Pursuit of Rule Breakers
The federal government suspended and debarred hundreds more contractors in fiscal 2011 than it did the year before, a signal that executive branch agencies are more liberally using their most powerful tool against illegal or dishonest business practices. The bump may be the result of prodding from both the Government Accountability Office and Congress, which want to see broader use of executive agencies’ enforcement powers against unscrupulous contractors. While that might result in more unethical businesses being suspended or permanently barred from bidding on contracts, experts say it also could lead to trouble as agencies with discretionary debarment power try to improve their stats.
"In theory, the system all makes perfect sense," said Litigation and Dispute Partner Steven Gordon. "The problem can be in how it's applied."