The Buy American Act: New focus on government contract compliance

On April 18, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order1 requiring that every government agency “…scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with Buy American Laws… and minimize the use of waivers, consistent with applicable law.”

Government agency surveillance of contractor Buy American Act compliance in recent years appears to have been inconsistent2.  Allegations of Buy American Act violations over the last several years appear to be more frequently the result of competitive bid protests of awardee compliance or qui tam (i.e., whistle blower) allegations of non-compliance than agency or prime contractor compliance surveillance activities3.

However, that could change with the President’s Executive Order and increased contracting agency focus on Buy American Act compliance.  This leaves contractors vulnerable if they do not have effective compliance programs in place to ensure their articles, materials, and supplies comply with their contractual obligations.  Findings of non-compliance could lead to a number of compensatory and punitive penalties.

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