Selected Legal Tools for Maintaining Government Contractor Accountability [September 26, 2018] [open pdf - 1MB]
"The federal government obligates hundreds of billions of dollars each year to procure goods and services. Federal procurement statutes and regulations establish largely uniform policies and procedures applicable to government contracts 'to deliver on a timely basis the best value product or service to the [government], while maintaining the public's trust and fulfilling public policy objectives.' To meet these ends, federal agencies have a number of legal tools at their disposal to help ensure a contractor adequately performs a contract or, if warranted, to hold a contractor accountable for performance failures or misconduct. These legal tools are intended to advance the transparency, fairness, and integrity of the procurement system and limit waste, fraud, and abuse. As described in detail below, these tools include contractual remedies, contract bid and source selection criteria, as well as various noncontract-based legal powers, such as civil fraud enforcement and the authority to exclude contractors for a period of time from being eligible for future contracts through suspension or debarment proceedings. This report analyzes a selection of the legal tools a procuring agency may use to hold contractors accountable. The report first assesses contractual remedies that procuring agencies could utilize to ensure full and satisfactory performance of existing contracts. Next, the report discusses performance-related contract source selection criteria that agencies may, and often must, utilize when evaluating new contract bid proposals. The report ends with a discussion of other legal tools--outside of contract law and the contract selection processes--that the government may employ to hold a contractor accountable."
CRS Report for Congress, R45322
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/