FAR ethics rules updated

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- The Federal Acquisition Regulation will be
amended to reflect new ethics rules enacted in a recent
supplemental appropriations bill, but many details remain

President Bush signed the bill, H.R. 2642, June 30.

The bill requires contractors to report violations of the law and
overpayments they receive from agencies, but it does not indicate
to whom the contractors should report. Those specifics remain for
the FAR Council to figure out, said Rob Burton, an attorney at
Venable and former deputy administrator of the Office of Federal
Procurement Policy.

"This, to me, is huge," Burton said, referring to the mandatory
reporting requirements. He was moderating a panel discussion on
ethics at the Executive Leadership Conference, an American Council
on Technology/Industry Advisory Council event.

Congress also asked OFPP to look at how the FAR handles
organizational conflicts of interest, another widely discussed
ethical issue. Congress has essentially asked OFPP to see if the
FAR rules on such conflicts needs to be strengthened. "The
implication is, Congress thinks it does need to be beefed up," he

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council and a
panelist, said he believes government should remain cautious about
regulation and not impose too many restrictions on agencies and

"We have a few cases of waste, even fewer cases of abuse and almost
no cases of genuine fraud," he said. "But we treat them all as they
were synonymous."

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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