President Obama’s proposed jobs bill could have a substantial impact on a construction industry that continues to weaken as Recovery Act funding dries up. The bill offers $447 billion in federal funding, much of which is devoted to infrastructure spending in the education, transportation, and housing industries. It would further delay the 3% withholding tax on government contractors and establish a national infrastructure bank to facilitate long-term investment in infrastructure projects. It also carries some restrictions. Although it is far from clear that the bill will make it through Congress, some of its provisions bear further consideration.
Continue Reading

Title 41 of the U.S. Code holds many of the key laws governing contracts with the federal government. A four-year effort to organize this collection of public contract laws and remove “ambiguities, contradictions, and other imperfections” was completed on January 4, 2011. The President’s signature on Public Law No. 111-350, 124 Stat. 367 (Jan. 4, 2011) [pdf] has the effect of renumbering the entirety of Title 41 and giving new section numbers to many of the most important government contract laws.


Continue Reading

The False Claims Act encourages individuals with knowledge of fraud against the Government to file a court action seeking damages for the fraud.  It does this by promising a bounty. The relator receives a percentage of the amount recovered in a false claims case.  But there is a constant tension between encouraging plaintiffs to bring cases alleging fraud and protecting defendants from frivolous cases. The January 11, 2011 decision in United States ex rel. Folliard v. Hewlett-Packard Co. illustrates how the requirement that a plaintiff include all of the details of an alleged fraud in the initial complaint helps strike this balance.


Continue Reading