GAO sets new policy on debarments, suspensions

As a legislative-branch agency the Government Accountability Office does not have to comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations on suspension, debarment and ineligibility of contractors, but it is choosing to adopt the rules.

The new policy comes out on the heels of the proposed debarment of Booz Allen's San Antonio office by the Air Force. Published on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) on Feb. 6, the action was related to a former government employee hired by Booz Allen who inappropriately retained and shared sensitive information about a pending government procurement.

GAO's new policy, published in the Federal Register as a notice, takes effect on Feb. 13.

GAO now will not solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with, contractors who are listed on the EPLS, according to the notice. Additionally, if GAO debars, proposes for debarment, or suspends a contractor, it will list that contractor in the EPLS.

The office first proposed and solicited comments on the policy on Sept. 30 and received only positive comments.

GAO's Acquisition Management office , which is responsible for the majority of its contracting activities, will be the unit with primary responsibility for investigating and referring potential debarment and suspension actions to the debarment/suspension official for consideration.

As the debarring and suspending official, GAO's Comptroller General, "will also be responsible for deciding whether to solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with contractors who have been debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment, and whether to terminate a current contract or subcontract in existence at the time the contractor was debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment," the notice said.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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