IMPROPER BUSINESS PRACTICES AND PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
(a) The standards of conduct for USDA procurement officials are the uniform standards established by the Office of Government Ethics in 5 CFR Part 2635, Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, and FAR 3.104, Procurement Integrity.
(b) Procurement officials and other employees who require advice concerning the application of standards of conduct to any acquisition issue shall obtain ethics advisory opinions from ethics advisory officials in their agency personnel offices.
The contracting officer shall forward information concerning any violation or possible violation of the Procurement Integrity Act (41 U.S.C. 423) to the chief of the contracting office.
A suspected violation of the contract clause, FAR 52.203-3, Gratuities, shall be reported immediately to the cognizant contracting officer in writing, stating the circumstances surrounding the incident(s), the date(s), and names of all parties involved. The contracting officer shall review the report for completeness, add any additional information deemed necessary and a recommendation for action, and submit the report to the HCA.
The HCA shall review the report and consult with the Offices of General Counsel and Inspector General to determine whether further action should be pursued. If it is found that the facts and circumstances warrant further action, the HCA shall give the contractor a formal written notice which summarizes the reported violation and affords the contractor the opportunity to make a written or oral response within a reasonable, specified period after receipt of the notice. The notice shall be sent by certified mail with return receipt requested. Oral presentations shall follow the procedures outlined in FAR 3.204(b). The HCA shall furnish copies of any adverse determination to the contracting officer and the Department Debarring Officer for their subsequent considerations under FAR 3.204(c)(1) and (2), respectively.
Contracting officers shall report the circumstances of suspected violations of antitrust laws to the Office of Inspector General in accordance with procedures in Departmental Regulations (1700 series).
( a) A suspected misrepresentation or violation of the Covenant Against Contingent Fees shall be documented in writing by the contracting officer and reported immediately to the chief of the contracting office. The chief of the contracting office shall determine if a violation has occurred and report any violation to the Office of Inspector General. The chief of the contracting office shall take action in accordance with FAR 3.405(b).
(b) If the chief of the contracting office decides to refer the case to the Department of Justice, it should be referred through the Office of Inspector General with a copy of the report and referral submitted through the HCA to the Senior Procurement Executive.
Contracting officers shall report the circumstances of suspected violations of the Anti-Kickback Act (41 U.S.C. 51-58) to the Office of Inspector General in accordance with procedures in Departmental Regulations (1700 series).
The HCA is authorized to except a contract from the policy in FAR 3.601.
The contracting officer, when requesting authorization under 403.602, shall prepare a written determination and findings for the signature of the HCA. The determination shall document compliance with FAR 3.603, specifying the compelling reason(s) for award, and shall be placed in the contract file.
Suspected violations of the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 1352 shall be referred to the Office of Inspector General in accordance with procedures in Departmental Regulations (1700 series).