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Procurement Collusion Strike Force Resource Center


The Department of Justice recently announced the creation of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), a multiagency initiative to detect and punish antitrust crimes in the government procurement, grant, and program funding arenas. With over 30 active grand jury investigations already and more being launched, companies that do business with federal, state, and local governments should consider themselves on notice that their conduct during procurements will be under a law enforcement microscope. Prevention, training, and detection are paramount.

Crowell & Moring has launched a “PCSF Response Team” of experienced professionals from our pre-eminent Antitrust, Government Contracts, and White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Practices to assist our clients navigate this new enforcement paradigm. From conducting trainings and risk assessments to designing compliance programs to representing clients responding to subpoenas and in investigations, and before grand juries the PCSF Response Team works with clients across the spectrum and has the experience to address issues inherent in the most complex, multiagency investigations.

What is the Procurement Collusion Strike Force?

Announced on November 5, 2019, the PCSF is a joint effort by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, a number of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, the FBI, and the Inspectors General for the Department of Defense, U.S. Postal Service, and General Services Administration to deter, detect, investigate and prosecute antitrust crimes, such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes throughout the government procurement process. The PCSF will conduct outreach and training for procurement officials and government contractors on antitrust risks in the procurement process, and will jointly investigate and prosecute cases resulting from their targeted outreach efforts.

What does it mean for government contractors?

The PCSF raises the risks for government contractors. Contractors should expect increased scrutiny of bids and the bidding and award process, and should ensure that they maintain effective and rigorous compliance policies and internal controls. Companies and individuals found guilty of criminal antitrust conduct face the possibility of significant monetary fines and prison time, as well as collateral damage including follow-on civil suits (including under the False Claims Act), suspension and debarment, rescission of contracts, compliance monitors, and reputational harm.

What steps should government contractors take?

  • Review and update your antitrust compliance policy to reflect the increased focus on the procurement process.
  • Review and update your compliance policies relating to government procurements to ensure they adequately address the potential for collusive behavior.
  • Ensure employees engaged in the procurement process receive regular antitrust training, in particular those who communicate with competitors or work on teaming arrangements.
  • Conduct spot audits of email communications, industry association meetings, or other competitor communications.
  • Contact counsel if you identify any potential gaps in compliance.

Crowell & Moring Resources

External Resources

The DOJ’s PCSF website identifies a number of sources for the strike force to use and reference, including:

About Crowell & Moring’s PCSF Response Team

Crowell & Moring’s PCSF Response Team is comprised of seasoned attorneys from our industry-leading Antitrust, Government Contracts, and White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement groups. This team brings together former antitrust prosecutors, former government procurement fraud enforcers, and experienced practitioners that bring to bear decades of experience handling the most sophisticated and complex antitrust and government contracts matters. Our seamless interdisciplinary team works with clients to proactively identify risks and develop appropriate and measured responses, and has a proven record of success guiding clients through government investigations.

About Our Antitrust Practice

Crowell & Moring is recognized as a top antitrust practice by legal and industry journals. We were recognized as "highly recommended" in Global Competition Review's (GCR) 16th edition of the "GCR 100: The World's Leading Competition Law and Economics Practices," in the Washington, D.C., New York, and California categories. Our Washington, D.C., and Brussels-based groups have been listed among the leading practices in both Chambers USA and Chambers Global, where clients describe our lawyers as "highly impressive" and possessing "an exceptional ability to communicate complex, technical issues to the layman." Learn more here.

About Our Government Contracts Practice

For more than 40 years, Crowell & Moring's Government Contracts Group has set the standard for effective legal guidance in this highly complex arena. Today, we have one of the largest and most reputable government contracts practices in the United States and worldwide. Our experience and litigation victories have been recognized year after year. We are repeatedly recognized by Chambers USA as a tier-one practice and named to Law360's "Practice Groups of the Year" listing. Learn more here.

About Our White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement Practice

Our White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement team has successfully defended and counseled clients around the world in connection with all manner of government investigations, criminal trials, regulatory enforcement actions, and internal investigations. Our diverse team includes former assistant federal defenders, as well as former prosecutors and enforcement attorneys from the Department of Justice, the Office of Independent Counsel, United States Attorney's Offices, and other agencies. The excellence of our practice is recognized by Chambers USA and Law 360, which named us a "Practice Groups of the Year" several years ago. Learn more here.