On 19 September 2022, the US Attorney for the District of Montana and the US Department of Justice, Antitrust Division filed a criminal information against and plea agreement with the president and owner of a paving and asphalt company to resolve a charge of attempted monopolization. The company owner pled guilty to engaging in anticompetitive conduct with the intent to gain monopoly power in the markets for highway crack sealing services in Montana and Wyoming by proposing to a competitor that they enter into a market-allocation agreement in which the two companies would stop competing against each other by dividing territories in Montana and Wyoming. The company owner also agreed to pay a fine of USD 27,000.
Baker McKenzie’s Government Procurement Update resource center gives you the latest guidance, trends and enforcement actions related to government procurement (both US government contracting and international financing institutions), including suspension and debarment, bid protests, and False Claims Act defense. Calling upon our deep bench of more than 4,000 lawyers and legal professionals worldwide, we will occasionally feature guest practitioners to write about related topics in the criminal, civil, and administrative context. Readers can expect to find practical guidance and tips for compliance with public procurement policies as well as best practices for managing government inquiries and litigation.
On 15 February 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a 30-page report titled State of Competition within the Defense Industrial Base (“Report”) surveying the state of competition across key defense sectors and laying out recommendations to spur increased competition in the defense industrial base. The Report is one of many required by numerous agencies in response to Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order.
Two years ago, on 5 November 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the formation of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF). DOJ press releases indicated the purpose was to create a joint, collaborative interagency partnership focused on deterring, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting antitrust crimes. The Strike Force has prosecutors from 22 US Attorneys’ Offices and 7 national law enforcement partner agencies, including the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Inspectors General for multiple Federal agencies. To date, the PCSF is active in almost a quarter of US judicial districts and coordinates with many US agencies and offices.
On 14 September 2021, the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the US Federal Trade Commission issued a Joint Statement on antitrust enforcement regarding collaborative relief efforts after Hurricane Ida. The Statement recognizes that collaboration among companies – even among competitors – may be necessary and beneficial to assist communities with rebuilding and relief efforts. However, the Statement also makes clear that neither agency will tolerate attempts to subvert competition laws or engage in illegal conduct under the guise of disaster recovery.