Practices  |  Government Contracts

Suspension and Debarment


A contractor’s “present responsibility” status is its most important asset.  Suspension, proposed debarment, or debarment from government contracting of an individual, business unit, or corporate entity can have catastrophic business impacts, precluding that individual, unit, or entity from receiving working on, or competing for government contracts potentially for years.  Moreover, under the FAR’s internal compliance program and mandatory disclosure requirements (Ethics Advice & Compliance Audits and Plans), contractors bear the burden of self-policing and self-reporting their own activities or risk damaging their reputations as responsible contractors.

Wiley Rein Government Contracts attorneys regularly advise contractors facing threatened suspension and debarment, earning a reputation for forthrightness, steady guidance, and integrity.  We have worked extensively with Department of Defense (DOD) and civilian Suspension and Debarment Officials (SDOs) to prevent, negotiate, and resolve suspension and debarment actions as well as threatened actions.  Our clients have included contractors of all sizes, from major defense contractors and large commercial companies with smaller government contracting footprints to small businesses and individuals. 

We have assisted clients in responding to show-cause notices; advocated for contractors facing potential suspension or debarment in meetings, negotiations, and presentations to agency debarring officials; negotiated administrative agreements to avoid suspension and debarment; and worked with contractors to shore up compliance practices in response to threatened suspension or debarment. 

Representative experience includes:

  • Major government contractor’s office proposed for debarment:  Conducted extensive internal investigation while negotiating a comprehensive administrative agreement with responsible agency SDO, which ultimately lifted the proposed debarment.  Wiley Rein also assisted the contractor in implementing internal investigation and compliance functions to allow compliance with the administrative agreement.
  • Foreign company proposed for debarment:  Assisted with preparation of initial submission to SDO and a meeting between the SDO and company executives.  After the meeting, the proposed debarment was immediately lifted. 
  • Major government contractor accused of procurement fraud:  Negotiated contract amendments, a comprehensive administrative agreement, and settlement agreements with various agencies of the government, ultimately leading to the lifting of suspension against the contractor.
  • Major government contractor accused of contract mischarging:  Responded to a notice of intent to suspend or debar the contractor.  After providing a detailed factual response and evidence of current responsibility, the government chose to forgo further administrative action.
  • Government contractor debarred by World Bank:  Represented contractor before responsible U.S. government SDO, which declined to suspend or propose debarment for the contractor based on the facts underlying the World Bank debarment.
  • Contractor employee accused of ethical misconduct:  Guided contractor through disclosure to agency of employees’ ethical issues with no suspension, debarment, or other sanctions and assisted in development of contractor compliance program and training.
  • Contractor accused of violating conflict of interest regulations:  Assisted in developing administrative agreement and compliance program to enable contractor to continue federal contracting.
  • Contractor accused of providing illegal gratuities to procurement officials:  Negotiated an administrative agreement, avoiding debarment.
  • Contractor accused of violating Procurement Integrity Act “revolving door” provisions:  Assisted contractor and an employee in responding to SDO investigation, negotiating administrative agreement, and successfully completing the term of the administrative agreement without incident.

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