Former DHS official to pay $10,000 to address alleged ethics violations | Morgana Lewis

Companies should assess their potential employees, especially former public servants, to detect possible ethics violations.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 12 that Kenneth J. Buck, a former senior DHS official, had agreed to pay $10,000 to resolve allegations that he violated DHS conflict rules. interests in working with a federal government contractor shortly before and after he left the agency in 2016.

Federal ethics rules prevent current and former federal employees from having contact with government contractors, including a mandatory one-year period during which former federal employees are not allowed to communicate directly with their former agency on behalf of another with the intention of influencing the action of the agency.

According to the government, before resigning from DHS, Buck entered into an outsourcing agreement with Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions LLC (iFOS) and helped it prepare a pre-award presentation. Buck informed a DHS official that he intended to leave DHS to work with iFOS as a contractor, and less than a week later that official selected iFOS for a no-call contract. offers. Buck then participated in numerous conversations over the next year with DHS and iFOS, which the parties attempted to conceal.

The deal resolved allegations that Buck violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by conspiring with iFOS and a DHS official at the time to hide his involvement in the deal while securing the award. a federal government contract to iFOS. The government further alleged that iFOS and Buck violated the FCA and circumvented mandatory background investigation requirements by submitting invoices to DHS attributing work performed by Buck to another iFOS employee in order to conceal Buck’s involvement.

The regulations underscore the need for companies to be aware of post-employment restrictions on public servants. Organizations should develop appropriate policies to inform and train employees on the requirements set out in the Procurement Integrity Act, assess the employment history of their potential employees, and restrict the employment activities of former public servants if necessary.

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