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United States and European Union Impose Additional Sanctions in Response to Actions by Turkish Government

Introduction On October 14, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria. This Order provides authority for the imposition of sanctions (including secondary sanctions) on certain entities and individuals in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria, which the Order states endanger … Continue Reading

FDA Issues Updated Guidance on the Regulation of Digital Health Technologies

On September 26, 2019, the FDA issued two revised guidance documents addressing its evolving approach to the regulation of digital health technologies.  These guidances primarily describe when digital health solutions will or will not be actively regulated by FDA as a medical device.  In parallel, FDA also updated four previously final guidance documents to ensure … Continue Reading

Hiring Employees vs. Independent Contractors: Navigating Classification Issues in a Drastically Altered California Legislative Landscape

Recently enacted California Assembly Bill 5 (“AB-5”) is a game changer for businesses that use independent contractors in California — and a warning shot for employers nationwide.  Subject to exemptions for certain occupations and professions, AB-5 imposes a strict “ABC” test that appears to put a thumb on the scale of classifying workers as employees … Continue Reading

Blowing the Whistle on a Breach of Contract? D.C. Circuit Addresses Scope of FCA’s Anti-Retaliation Rules

The False Claims Act has long protected relators from retaliation for preparing a qui tam complaint.  But what if an employee “blows the whistle” on a garden-variety problem — for instance, a laboratory that she believes is falling short of standards in a federal funding agreement?In a split decision, a panel of the D.C. Circuit … Continue Reading

U.S. Draft Human Rights Guidance for Exporters of Surveillance Technology

On 4 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) published draft ‘Guidance for the Export of Hardware, Software and Technology with Surveillance Capabilities and/or Parts/Know-How’ (the “Guidance”). The DoS invited public comment on the draft Guidance until 4 October 2019, after which they will publish finalised guidance. Goal: Preventing Human Rights Abuse While noting … Continue Reading

Expanded Conditional Approval Draft Guidance Issued

On September 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) issued a draft guidance explaining the criteria it plans to apply when granting “expanded conditional approval” to new animal drugs not intended for minor uses or minor species that address a serious or life-threatening disease or condition or fill an … Continue Reading

Suspension & Debarment Update: SBA to Sharpen Suspension & Debarment Procedures

Changes are coming to the suspension and debarment practices of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and contractors should ready themselves for an uptick in suspension and debarment activity as a result.  That’s the takeaway from a new audit report released last week by the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) criticizing aspects of the … Continue Reading

The Re-Imagined National Counterterrorism Center

President Trump’s nomination of Vice Admiral (Ret.) Joe Maguire to become the country’s next Director of National Intelligence both elevated the profile of the decorated Navy SEAL and the organization he currently leads, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  The nomination comes in the wake of the El Paso Attack that claimed 22 lives and the … Continue Reading

A Director’s New Threat Assessment

On Capitol Hill last week, an FBI Director provided a troubling update regarding America’s national security.  Robert Muller’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding his tenure as Special Counsel was not the source of this update, however.  It was Christopher Wray, the current Director, who provided … Continue Reading

Senators Introduce Legislation to Regulate Privacy and Security of Wearable Health Devices and Genetic Testing Kits

Last week, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Protecting Personal Health Data Act (S. 1842), which would provide new privacy and security rules from the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) for technologies that collect personal health data, such as wearable fitness trackers, social-media sites focused on health data or … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Confidential Supervisory Information and FOIA Procedures

On June 14, 2019, the Federal Reserve Board (“Federal Reserve”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPR”) requesting public comment on updates to its regulations governing the disclosure of confidential supervisory information (“CSI”) and its Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) procedures. Although the Federal Reserve classified many of the proposed revisions as “clarifications” or “technical … Continue Reading

Beyond The FCPA: New U.S. Regulator Enforcing Against Foreign Corruption

Yet another U.S. regulator is entering the foreign corruption space.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is a civil agency that oversees commodity and derivatives markets in the United States.  It enforces the Commodity Exchange Act, a set of statutes that are enforced criminally by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The CFTC has authority to impose … Continue Reading

Florida FARA Case Leaves Troubling Precedent

On May 7, 2019, a federal District Court in the Southern District of Florida ruled that an American company, RM Broadcasting, must register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) for its agreement to broadcast radio programming from Rossiya Segodnya (meaning “Russia Today”), a Russian state-owned news agency.  Although the decision … Continue Reading

Ranking the U.S. Economy:  “New Normal” or Room for Improvement?

For decades, the U.S. economy was the envy of the world.  With few, notable exceptions the U.S. economy was a consistent model for growth, innovation, diversification and job creation. The US economic engine, and the optimistic middle class it enabled, also has been a testament to the value of our democratic, rule-of-law-based governance system. Unfortunately, … Continue Reading

ABSCA Confirms Contractors May Challenge Unfavorable CPARS Ratings

While you might not be able to fight City Hall, you can fight your CPARS rating. In a short opinion published last week, the ASBCA confirmed it has jurisdiction to annul an inaccurate and unfair government evaluation of a contractor’s performance. Cameron Bell Corporation d/b/a Government Solutions Group, ASBCA No. 61856 (May 1, 2019).  Though … Continue Reading

Now In Congress: Budget, Nominations, Mueller Report

April began with Washington learning of the first-quarter fundraising hauls of Democratic presidential hopefuls, many of whom are current or former senators and House members. Meanwhile, several additional potential presidential candidates continue to weigh their options for jumping into the race, with much of the attention on former Vice President Joe Biden, who is trying … Continue Reading

USPTO INCREASES FOCUS ON DIVERSITY IN PATENTING WITH NEW REPORT ON WOMEN INVENTORS

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) Office of the Chief Economist released a new report last week examining women inventor trends in the United States from 1976 to 2016.  The study showed that only 21 percent of U.S. patents granted during that 40-year period include at least one woman listed as an inventor.  Despite … Continue Reading

Domestic Sourcing Requirement Doesn’t Fit DOD’s Gloves

This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for this blog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a bid protest decision regarding the application of the Berry Amendment’s domestic sourcing requirement to a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) solicitation for leather combat gloves with touchscreen capability.  In that decision, the GAO … Continue Reading

Investment Adviser Hit With $100K SEC Fine, a Reminder that Public Universities are Covered by Pay-to-Play Rule

In December, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) fined an investment adviser $100,000 for violating the SEC’s pay-to-play rule.  The SEC’s rule effectively prohibits investment adviser executives and other “covered associates” of an investment adviser from making political contributions in excess of de minimis amounts ($350 per election if the contributor is eligible to vote … Continue Reading

“Hey Big Spender . . .”: GAO Reiterates That Agencies Must Meaningfully Consider Price In Best Value Tradeoffs

In three related bid protest decisions made public last week, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) reaffirmed the principle that agencies must meaningfully consider price when making best value tradeoff decisions.  GAO sustained the protests, stressing that merely paying lip service to price while selecting a more expensive, higher-rated offeror is not sufficient — agencies must … Continue Reading
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