The Value of the Whistleblower Program

The Value of the Whistleblower Program

On September 23, 2019, Senators Chuck Grassley, Tammy Baldwin, Joni Ernst, and Dick Durbin introduced theWhistleblower Programs Improvement Act (WPIA), which protects financial whistleblowers who reportinternallyfrom retaliation. This law mirrors theWhistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2019, which passed in the House of Representatives last spring. It is aimed at clarifying that the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provision should apply equally to employees who report alleged misconduct directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to employees who only report...

COVID-19 Causes Delays and Suspensions of Government Contracts

COVID-19 Causes Delays and Suspensions of Government Contracts

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused business disruption across the globe and is having a direct impact on government contractors. The federal government and the medical community’s efforts to contain COVID-19 requires a broad-based commitment to social distancing and self-quarantines, which directly impacts contract completion times and employee productivity. Outside of vital projects related to public health and safety or national security, contract specialists should expect that over the next few weeks, many government contracts will be formally or informally suspended for the...

Base Selection for the U.S. Space Command is Halted

Base Selection for the U.S. Space Command is Halted

On March 4, 2020, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett announced that the service will restart the base selection process for the U.S. Space Command, tossing out a list of finalists that heavily favored Colorado.

International Women's Day

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women's Day in New York City on February 28, 1909, German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference that March 8 be honored annually in memory of working women. The day has been celebrated as International Women’s Day or International Working Women’s Day ever since. The 2020 campaign theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, which upholds the concept of...

Eliminate Controversial Plan to Limit GI Bill Benefits Transferability

Eliminate Controversial Plan to Limit GI Bill Benefits Transferability

Earlier this year, military officials announced plans to change education benefits rules to prevent service members with more than 16-years of service from transferring their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouses or children. Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House on Wednesday, December 11, the controversial plan would be completely eliminated. The legislation, which passed the House by a 377-48 vote, includes language prohibiting the Defense Department “from imposing a general limit on transferability [of education benefits] based on the number of...

Apple Refuses Government’s Request to Unlock Pensacola Shooting

Apple Refuses Government’s Request to Unlock Pensacola Shooting

On January 13, 2020, Attorney General William Barr labeled the December 2019 attack by a Saudi aviation student at a naval air station in Pensacola, FL, an act of terrorism. AG Barr and FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich publicly requested Apple Inc. to unlock two iPhones belonging to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, with the hopes that doing so will provide more information about his radicalization. AG Barr called on Apple to find a way to crack the encrypted phones in a high-profile request that escalated a battle between tech firms and the government over how to best balance digital security with...

Back Country Backlash from Trademark Bullying

Back Country Backlash from Trademark Bullying

Earlier this month, Backcountry.com (Backcountry), a prominent Utah-based online retailer of outdoor equipment, came under swift backlash for filing numerous trademark infringement claims against smaller businesses due to their use of the term “backcountry” in either their business names or marketing materials.

Craft Beer v. Spiked Beer In Trademark Infringement Case

Craft Beer v. Spiked Beer In Trademark Infringement Case

On September 25, 2019, a popular Indiana craft brewery filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against a New Jersey spiked beverage producer it claims has tarnished its name and hurt its sales with inferior but similar-sounding products.

Battle Over Colorado's Death With Dignity Law

Battle Over Colorado's Death With Dignity Law

On August 26, 2019, Dr. Barbara Morris, a primary care and geriatric physician with over 40 years of experience, was abruptly fired by Centura Health Physician Group, at the direction of Centura Health Corporation (Centura). Her termination came on the heels of her efforts in aiding a patient in his search to find a healthcare provider who would write him a prescription for aid-in-dying medication (AID). In doing so, Centura, a faith-based healthcare organization, concluded that Dr. Morris’ conduct “violated the religious principles upon which [Centura] operates and warranted the termination...

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers' Mistake Has Huge Unallowable Claims

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers' Mistake Has Huge Unallowable Claims

In a report made public on October 3, 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE or Corps) failed to properly monitor Puerto Rico power grid restoration contractors following Hurricane Maria, leading to more than $50 million in potentially unallowable claims. 1 During the Hurricane Maria emergency response, two USACE offices awarded a type of contract that fails to encourage contractors to keep their costs down, and then failed to properly monitor the labor costs claimed by contractors to ensure those...