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Category: COVID-19 Client Alerts

GIR Analysis: Crisis-Driven Innovation in Brazilian Internal Investigation Practice

In the Global Investigations Review (GIR) article, "Crisis-driven innovation in Brazilian internal investigation practice," Francisco Petros and Thaís Folgosi Françoso at FF Advogados in Brazil and Iris Bennett and Carlos André Galante Grover at Smith Pachter McWhorter in the US examine innovations in internal investigation practices in Brazil spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, the benefits of change, and provide tips to manage enforcement authorities' expectations. 

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Federal News Network Interviews Edmund Amorosi on Emergency Procurement on Federal News Radio, WFED, 1500AM

Federal News Network interviewed Edmund Amorosi on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin on Federal News Radio, WFED, 1500AM: "Procurement rules can trip up agencies in emergencies, but permissions exist," which aired on May 13, 2020.

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Recent CBCA Decision Highlights Hurdles Faced by Construction Contractors Seeking Compensation for COVID-19 Impacts

A recent and curiously-timed decision from the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals ("CBCA") demonstrates the significant challenges a contractor faces when trying to recover increased costs incurred as a result of an epidemic.  This article summarizes the decision and outlines the ways a contractor may distinguish this decision from the current COVID-19 epidemic as part of its efforts to seek compensation for the project impacts of the virus.
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Updated COVID-19 Handbook for Government Contractors During the Coronavirus Pandemic

UPDATED COVID-19 Handbook for Government Contractors: The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for companies performing federal government contracts. The operating landscape is constantly shifting and the communication and directives from federal agencies and state and local governments are often vague and contradictory.

In response to a flood of COVID-19 communication from federal agencies and state and local governments, including advisories, memoranda, and alerts, Smith Pachter McWhorter PLC has issued an updated handbook for government contractors covering topics in a Q&A format to address pressing issues and provide answers to inquiries our attorney response team is receiving from the industry. 

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COVID-19 Client Alert: Preparing for Increased CARES Act Oversight

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) will provide more than $2 trillion in relief to those hardest hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the CARES Act, the federal government will provide checks to an estimated 150 million American households, set up loan programs for businesses, increase unemployment insurance programs, provide funds to hospitals and local governments, among other actions.  As the largest economic stimulus package in history, there is a natural focus in the CARES Act on making sure that funds are used for their intended purpose, thus creating three new oversight bodies: the Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery within the Treasury Department (“SIGPR”); the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (“PRAC”); and a Congressional Oversight Commission. Businesses benefiting from the much-needed relief the CARES Act provides should take the opportunity now to prepare for the increased scrutiny of a special Inspector General.  Both during the pandemic response and after it subsides, we can expect that the SIGPR will probe how CARES Act funds were deployed with the full benefit of hindsight. 

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Fast-Track Emergency Procurement Methods Available to Agencies and Contractors to Support Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Government contractors are playing a critical role providing essential goods and services to aid the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This client alert provides an overview for contractors and agency procurement officials of the most significant acquisition changes for sourcing goods and services more quickly given the urgent situation, which include increased simplified acquisition thresholds, pre-established commercial item status for specified goods and services essential to the pandemic response, relief from competition requirements, and easing of some administrative requirements for doing business with the federal government.  There are also special avenues for contributing to the relief efforts, including the National Disaster Registry and a program granting state and local governments access to GSA and VA schedules for emergency relief.

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Webinar: Practical Guidance for Federal Contractors Navigating a COVID-19 Environment

Smith Pachter McWhorter, Jackson Lewis and BDO will host a webinar on "Practical Guidance for Federal Contractors Navigating a COVID-19 Environment" on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m., addressing important issues related to stay-at-home mandates, non-essential business closures and restrictions, and orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting employers.  Federal government contractors face additional challenges with agency, contract or site-specific closures or restrictions impacting their ability to continue work as usual.  At the same time Congress is enacting laws expanding paid and unpaid leave for certain workers, directing federal agencies to consider reimbursement of paid leave for certain government contractors, and providing additional unemployment benefits, loans and tax incentives. Panelists will address questions on these and other issues impacting contractors.

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Federal Publications Seminars Features Stephen Knight on Podcast Series: Defense Production Act and DPAS

Federal Publications Seminars featured Stephen Knight on its FPS Podcast Series,Podcast #1: "Defense Production Act of 1950 Explained." The Defense Production Act of 1950 has been dormant for decades. In this FPS Podcast Stephen Knight, Partner at Smith Pachter McWhorter, explains what DPAS is and it's impact to contractors as it related to COVID-19, three executive orders and the meaning of a "rated" contract. 

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COVID-19 Client Alert: CARES Act and Implications for Government Contractors

President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") into law on March 27, 2020, the largest stimulus act in the history of the United States, amounting to a staggering $6.2 trillion. In addition to direct cash payment to citizens, the majority of the stimulus package is aimed at assisting businesses weather COVID-19's economic fallout. With government response changing and developing rapidly over the coming months, Smith Pachter McWhorter will provide additional guidance and analysis for contractors as the CARES Act and other response legislation is implemented.

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COVID-19 Q&A: A Handbook for Government Contractors During the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 Government Contractor Handbook. SPM has issued a handbook for government contractors covering topics in a Q&A format to provide simple answers addressing some of the pressing issues and questions we are seeing from the industry. Topics include: recent federal agency guidance, the Defense Production Act and DPAS rated orders, contractor immunity and government indemnity, work site access, force majeure and excusable delays and changes, supplier management, suspension of work and stop work orders, employee notification under the WARN Act, communication with the customer, and maintaining documentation. 

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OMB Guidance Urges Flexibility in Management of Government Contracts During Pandemic - Practical Tips for Contractors

The COVID-19 epidemic is creating uncertainties for contractors performing government contracts due to, among other things, changes in facility access, new health rules, and an evolving situation.  In apparent response to industry concerns, the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") issued Memorandum M-20-18, “Managing Federal Contract Performance Issues Associated with the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)” dated March 20, 2020.  OMB states that the purpose of the memorandum is to identify steps to help ensure contractor health and safety while maintaining continued contract performance in support of agency missions consistent with precautions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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COVID-19 Client Alert: Defense Production Act and Implications for Government Contractors

By Executive Order dated March 18, 2020, the President invoked wartime powers authority provided in the Defense Production Act ("DPA") to direct private industry in the interests of the national defense. See, 50 U.S.C. Ch. 55; The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress (CRS Report No. R43767). The definition of "national defense" is expansive and extends to domestic preparedness, response and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies. 50 U.S.C. § 4552(14). The President's authority includes the ability to prioritize government contracts over competing customers for goods and services and allocate or control materials, services, and facilities necessary to promote the national defense. 

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DOJ Prioritizes Fraud Investigations Related to Coronavirus Outbreak and Response

The Department of Justice has mobilized prosecutors and investigators to look for fraud related to the current COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.   On Monday, March 16, 2020, Attorney General William Barr directed all U.S. Attorneys nationwide to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.

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