Bills to Prevent Conflicts of Interest in Acquisition Clear House Committee

Tim Graham/Getty Images

Republicans opposed the bills on ideological grounds, arguing government overreach would stifle the private sector.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform favorably reported legislation that would instruct the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to craft new language agencies must use in guarding against conflicts of interest in the procurement process.

After voice votes during a business meeting Thursday, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., moved the bills—H.R. 7602 and H.R. 8325, to prevent organizational and personal conflicts of interest, respectively—out of the committee amid partisan opposition. The meeting is in recess. Votes will be officially recorded when proceedings resume at a date to be determined, but a committee aide confirmed debate has concluded on the conflict of interest bills.  

The bills are Maloney’s response to an investigation the committee conducted into McKinsey and Company. Consultants and senior partners at the firm frequently worked on Food and Drug Administration contracts while also working for opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma,” according to the initial findings of the investigation.  

“I feel strongly about this bill,” Maloney said, referring specifically to the legislation on personal conflicts of interest. “We had several hearings on it, where it was documented: abuses that led to the deaths of many, many Americans and [the] addiction of many Americans.” 

The legislation includes civil penalties for individuals and organizations found to be making false claims under the updated laws, including for the violation of “restrictions on a contractor’s employees disclosing, or using for personal gain, confidential information obtained in connection with performing the contract.”

That specific provision fills a hole Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. identified in corresponding legislation the Senate Homeland Security Committee passed in May. Hassan withdrew an amendment during the bill’s markup that would have instituted civil penalties to prevent companies that contract with the federal government from sharing information with their private sector clients, saying she understood the need to review feedback from the Office of Management and Budget.

During a hearing leading up to the Senate markup, Grant Schneider, former federal chief information security officer who is now senior director of cybersecurity services for the law firm Venable, told the committee that strong ethics rules sometimes stand in the way of filling vacancies in the federal acquisition workforce.

“I think we will be able to retain more people, if we can allow them more flexibility to move back and forth between industry and government,” he said.

House Republicans did not engage on the substance of the conflict of interest legislation Thursday. During their committee markup, Rep. Mike Cloud, R-Texas, said he supports preventing conflicts of interest across all agencies but that he wanted more time to review the legislation, which was introduced Monday.

But Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., said Republicans are opposing the measures based on their broader philosophy regarding the role of government. 

“Free Americans following the law should be able to work wherever they want,” he said. “The federal government should stay the hell out of our way. The problem with laws like this is a continuous never ending growth of the federal government that consumes the people's treasure and treads upon the people's freedoms. We oppose it in principle.”

Responding to various concerns Republicans raised, Maloney told Nextgov, “Strengthening the existing rules on conflicts of interest does not add any cost to the American taxpayer, and the burdens on contractors to disclose and avoid conflicts are minimal.”  

“These bills will bring back transparency and ensure that contractors advising agencies on sensitive matters are serving the public interest, and not their own,” she said.

The committee also cleared, by voice vote, the Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021, despite Republican opposition. The legislation proposed by Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., calls on federal agencies to harmonize national digital identity infrastructure by leveraging biometric databases states have been building to participate in REAL ID, a standard the federal government has put in place for accepting state-issued identification. 

“Recent estimates place the cost of identity fraud in the U.S. at $52 billion in 2021, impacting 42 million consumers and threatening access to both public and private sector services,” the committee wrote promoting that measure in a background memo for the hearing.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.