By NEIL GORDON
Last week, the Department of Justice announced it had intervened in a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging that federal contractor Fluor Corporation improperly used federal funds for lobbying activities. The lawsuit was originally filed in February 2011 by whistleblower Loydene Rambo.
The Byrd Amendment prohibits contractors from using federal funds to influence or attempt to influence the executive branch or Congress in connection with the awarding, extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of a federal contract. Contractors are required to certify (FAR Subpart 52.203-11) that they will comply with this lobbying restriction.
The government alleges that Fluor, while managing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford nuclear site in southeastern Washington State, spent DOE funds to lobby Congress and executive branch officials to secure additional appropriations and contracts for the Volpentest HAMMER (Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response) Training Facility at the site.