July 18, 2022 •
Bipartisan Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate to Stop Federal Security Contractors’ Conflict of Interests
A bipartisan bill was introduced into the U.S. Senate aimed at increasing federal oversight to prevent national security consulting firms from contracting both with the United States and countries like Russia and China.
Senate Bill 4516, Obstructive National Security Underreporting of Legitimate Threats (CONSULT), introduced by Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and Democratic Senators Maggie Hassan and Gary Peters, would require consulting firms to disclose any potential organizational conflict of interest with certain entities, such as beneficial ownership, active contracts, contracts held within the last five years, and any other relevant information with foreign adversarial entities or governments. In turn, it would also allow for these conflicts of interest to be grounds for denial of a contract, or for the suspension and debarment of a contractor.
The bill, introduced on July 13, would also require the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to update federal acquisition regulations for implementation and calls for a government-wide policy to mitigate and eliminate organizational conflict of interests relating to national security.
According to Senator Hassan’s press release, “The CONSULT Act comes after reports surfaced that the consulting firm McKinsey & Company was providing strategic advice for state-owned companies in China and Russia while also being awarded national security contracts by the United States. These Chinese and Russian entities include a handful that have been blacklisted by federal agencies.”
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