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Sep 11, 2007

Comments

Connie the Contractor

KSBR –

I’ve actually read the GSA contracts accepted by this firm. They are subject to the laws I have cited. Sorry. Also suggest reading the OF-347 they accepted for conference registrations.

If the Clean Air Act were inserted into your college grant, then you would have been subject to it. I imagine it was not. However, the operative documents are the contracts/agreements themselves. This firm has accepted most of them. They are definitely a government contractor. Rather than speculating, I recommend reading the source documents.

Connie

KSBR

Connie,

From the info posted on this blog, I didn't read any evidence of the many motives you attribute to the silly folks barring Scott. Plausible maybe, but not evident.

A top procurement attorney who has gotten many large and small companies out of colossal jams told me that it is really stretching things to believe anyone accepting federal funds as payment becomes a federal contractor, subject to the complaints you've cited. He said federal funds usually comes with strings, but accepting conference registrations and funds from feds is not one of those cases. He believes such a case would be quickly dismissed, or, if not, bomb quickly in court, not only on the basis of law, but also because the jury would be incredulous.

I got a government grant to learn a strategic language in college, but I didn't have to sign the Clean Air Act certification.

KSBR.

Connie the Contractor

KSBR –

I won’t acknowledge my background as that would only give more clues. Let’s just say that I know what I am talking about concerning these matters.

I think you may misunderstand my point. If a private entity wishes to hold a conference and keep other private entities from attending, that may be quite legal (depending of course on the reasons for a specific party’s exclusion). In the case of the Government*Horizons conference, it was not a private event, because Government*Horizons accepted registrations from government agencies using appropriated funds. In effect, they became a government contractor by doing this. (If Government*Horizons excluded all government agency registrations and refused to accept public money for this conference, then I might have a different answer). To add to this mix, Government*Horizons has a GSA schedule contract, and is most probably subject to certain provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act. Bottom line: excluding POGO because they are perceived to be whistleblowers, or provide support for whistleblowers, or because they are critics of current government contracting practices, is not a good idea. When you accept public money, you accept certain public obligations.

Connie

KSBR Redux

Connie.

You slay me with your acute legal analysis, which I buy. I didn't know you were an attorney; if you are not, I apologize for the slander.

A non profit organizations, be it a pro-industry cabal or a so-called watchdog group, shouldn't be able to just barge into a privately run, nontaxpayer supported event, if the sponsors don't want them. Pretty soon they'll be inviting themselves to fancy parties on K Street (avoided by many who know where business is done).

On the other hand, the American taxpayer is supporting part of the cost of POGO. And I don't mind it, since some of their probes are particularly well done and valuable to us all. (Danielle, please don't take this as gratuitous, I mean it). Given its tax-exempt status, my we taxpayers barge into any of POGO's public appearances, and into its internal affairs,--just a bit, too? Personally, I would not want to disturb the good work.

KSBR

Connie the Contractor

Sorry KSBR, I think you may be wrong about this. I'm studying the Government*Horizons contract with GSA, as well as the posting for the "public" program advertised. Actually, I'm not sure that POGO doesn't have a cause of action (especially since there were government speakers and attendees). Or, to be more precise, I'm not sure that Market*Access/Government*Horizons doesn't have a legal problem here vis-a-vis their government contracts if POGO decides to file a complaint with the GSA IG. Denying access to a "public" program to an organization that is perceived as supporting whistleblowers or is itself perceived as a whistleblower may violate the provisions of the company's GSA FSS contracts. Accordingly, I think that Government*Horizons may have a legal problem. Certainly, I would not have advised Government*Horizons to reject POGO's registration, even if they hate POGO's guts.

This is no different than when a State accepts Federal money for a road building or other grant or contract program. Certain obligations ensue, and I think that Government*Horizons may have overplayed their hand on this one.

Stay tuned. It could get interesting.

Connie

KSBR Redux

Actually, Connie, Scott's unfortunate pique is a little socialistic. His comments suggest that he thinks a private sector event can be controlled by government interests. Perhaps Scott was miffed he was not on a panel, not to mention barred. And he was looking for a cheap rate, too.

That said, Scott would surely make a panel better, but it is up to the private sector sponsor to make that decision.

Barring feds appearing at a conference that is not y'all come is going too far. Intrusive government meddling. If you try that approach on other subject matters and constituencies, you'll agree it doesn't fit.

So, they'll miss Scott's comments. That's a shame. But for heaven's sake, that's their right.

Will POGO accept literally anyone who wants to go to one of its meetings? After all, POGO's a tax exempt organization, and we are all paying for it, right?


KSBR Redux

Tom Adams

Oooh Connie! You know it makes us in the govt procurement community hot when you talk about OFPP and FSS Contract #s. What are wearing?

On a serious side, it seems clear that Mr. Dickson and company have their panties in a bunch over nothing. Come on D.D., what are you afraid of? Right now you look small and cowardly.

Connie the Contractor

This is outrageous. The program speakers include two Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) officials, the Chair of the Acquisition Advisory Panel, and the Ranking Member of the Senate Government Affairs Committee.

I believe that by rejecting POGO’s registration, Market*Access International and its affiliate, Government*Horizons, has evidenced that it is not a responsible contractor in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 9.104. Since Government*Horizons advertises on its web site that it a GSA schedule contract holder (FSS Contract # 02F-01-55T), POGO should initiate action by bringing this to the attention of the GSA Inspector General (IG). The IG’s office can then investigate and make a recommendation to the GSA debarment/suspension official. At the very least, this will bring the despicable practices of this company to light.

Additionally, Connie recommends that POGO send a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (the parent organization of OFPP and the nominal agency for which the Acquisition Advisory Panel was attached), as well as to Senator Collins office. The letter should specifically pin OMB down on whether they have a policy of permitting officials to speak at private profit-making organizations’ conferences that advertise availability to the public but which appear to reject registrations based on putatively partisan grounds. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

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