When a government contractor faces an external investigation or inquiry or determines that an internal investigation is warranted, its ability to continue to do business with the government, as well as its financial well-being and public reputation, can be placed at risk. Successful management of these potentially high-impact investigations requires legal counsel capable of identifying and balancing the complex variables that are involved to develop and execute an appropriate investigation, make the proper disclosures, and create and implement the necessary corrective actions. At Crowell & Moring, our government contracts attorneys are skilled investigators, our history and reputation with key government decision-makers is positive, and we never forget the value of our clients’ businesses.
Our Government Contracts Group, ranked Band 1 in the nation by Chambers USA, excels at helping companies address and investigate the discovery of potential noncompliance and handle the immense pressures of a regulatory or law-enforcement investigation. We have navigated government contract investigations and high-profile crises for industry-leading businesses, and we know the laws and regulations as well as the agencies that enforce them. The sophistication of our premier practice is anchored in a deep bench of former government officials, who understand the priorities of federal agencies, prosecutors, and lawmakers, and how to navigate the enforcement complex under even the most challenging of circumstances.
Although investigations and law-enforcement actions can pose a major concern to any company, they are particularly challenging to organizations that do business with the government. We work with small companies and industry giants, including government contractors, subcontractors, and recipients of government funds, to rapidly assess the issues at hand and identify regulators who are—or may eventually be—interested in the investigation and the underlying conduct. We help clients develop and implement appropriate corrective actions, interact with the government entities reviewing the issue, avoid criminal prosecution, and navigate parallel proceedings. When disclosures are required or beneficial, Crowell & Moring lawyers manage that process, incorporating defenses and other key concepts to help mitigate enforcement risk with minimal impact to our clients. Our primary goal remains to protect our clients’ ability to continue performing government work.
Our services include:
- Contract non-compliance investigations
- Regulatory non-compliance investigations
- Quality and testing investigations
- Procurement fraud investigations
- Defective pricing investigations
- Suspension and debarment actions
- False Claims Act investigations
- Internal audits
- Compliance counseling
- Government relations
- Investigations of classified contracts or related issues by cleared counsel
Crowell & Moring represents government contractors, subcontractors, and recipients of federal grants and research funds in virtually every type of crisis or investigation and before all government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, including Offices of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice. Our team of seasoned professionals includes the following:
- A senior official from the Defense Contract Management Agency and Defense Contract Audit Agency
- A former suspending and debarring official and co-chair of the Department of Defense and NASA Procurement Fraud Working Group
- A former Department of Defense procurement fraud remedies coordinating official
- A former administrator and several deputy administrators of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States
- Several former federal prosecutors
- Attorneys with the highest levels of security clearances
Congressional investigations. We help clients prepare for and understand the unique dynamics of congressional investigations and their impact on concurrent or potential criminal investigations.
- Incident involving off-duty security personnel. Represented a security contractor in connection with a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee and a related investigation following a shooting in Afghanistan by an off-duty security professional.
- Supply chain review for aerospace company. Represented an aerospace company in connection with the Senate Armed Services Committee’s investigation of counterfeit parts in the defense supply chain.
- Alleged technology-related antitrust activity. Represented a leading technology company and its chief counsel in a Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation.
- Accident involving a national energy laboratory. Represented a Department of Energy (DOE) management and operations contractor in connection with a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee.
Suspension and debarment. We help clients evaluate, monitor, and manage required disclosures, achieve successful outcomes, and maintain eligibility for new contracts and awards.
- Post-clean-up for disaster-services company. Achieved the reversal, within 60 days of being retained, of the suspensions of a disaster-services contractor and several other respondents, after other law firms had been unsuccessful during the previous 11 months.
- Reversal of education-industry suspension. Negotiated an administrative resolution to and lifting of the Department of Education’s suspension and debarment of a financial-services company that handles federally backed and guaranteed loans.
- Restoring an imaging company’s image. Represented a client in a Department of Homeland Security suspension and debarment proceeding arising under a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advanced imaging technology (AIT) contract.
Internal investigations. We have the insight and efficiency to conduct large, complex, and multinational corporate internal investigations in a wide variety of industries and across the spectrum of legal and regulatory issues.
- Conducting an internal investigation for a high-tech surveillance provider. Advised our client in a matter involving allegations of unfair competitive advantage under a joint military program.
- Reviewing time tracking and billing for a communications company. Conducted an internal investigation into time charging issues with respect to an Air Force communications program.
- Confirming proper use and management of government property. Conducted an internal investigation related to the handling of government-furnished property.
- Examining technology testing and quality issues. Conducted multiple internal investigations related to the testing and quality of high-tech components being sold to multiple government customers.
- Protecting a small business. Conducted an internal investigation related to the small-business status of a family-owned business and persuaded the Air Force not to prosecute the company.
- Resolving an investigation into kickbacks. Conducted an internal investigation into alleged kickbacks paid by a subcontractor.
- Addressing defective pricing claims under the GSA. Conducted internal investigations into violations of defective pricing and the price reduction clause for GSA contractors including a major international software developer, health care device manufacturer, electronics producer, and an environmental consulting firm.
- Protecting pharmaceutical manufacturers. Conducted internal investigations related to price ceilings under the Federal Supply Schedule and the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 and advised regarding mandatory disclosures.
False Claims Act. We have investigated and handled hundreds of False Claims Act cases, including winning a number of landmark appellate cases in federal circuit courts across the country.
- Prevented the flow of damages in a $220 million DOJ case. Prevailed against a Department of Justice appeal of a lower-court award of zero damages (penalties only) in a case involving allegations of excessive commissions paid to and bribery of foreign officials in connection with sales of pumping and irrigation equipment.
- Helped an aerospace company appeal a $1.2 billion qui tam case. Achieved a favorable jury verdict in a case in which the relator alleged that an aerospace and defense contractor had submitted false cost estimates on a government contract, and subsequently defeated the relator’s appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Refuted allegations involving military software sales. Represented a client in an investigation and qui tam case involving sales of software to Israel under the Foreign Military Financing Program.
Crises, incidents, and breaches.
- Post-incident response for security contractor. Helped a primary contractor investigate a tragic shooting involving a subcontractor’s employee, including working with government investigators, developing more robust subcontractor vetting measures, and establishing procedures to provide even greater oversight over the screening of subcontractor employees.
- Clearing up an environmental investigation. Helped a management and operations contractor investigate an environmental release, including working with government investigators, analyzing subcontractor responsibility, and assisting with related contract issues.