False Claims Act allegations leave two contractors with millions of dollars in fines

Guidehouse paid $7.6 million and Nan McKay & Associates paid $3.7 million to resovled claims that they violated the False Claims Act.

  • The Justice Department's Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative chalked up another successful case by winning more than $11 million from two contractors to resolve False Claims Act allegations. Guidehouse paid $7.6 million and Nan McKay and Associates paid $3.7 million to put to rest claims they violated the False Claims Act. The companies failed to meet cybersecurity requirements in contracts intended to ensure a secure environment for low-income New Yorkers to apply online for federal rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidehouse and Nan McKay admitted that they failed to satisfy their obligation to complete the required pre-production cybersecurity testing of the system.
  • House appropriators are digging in even further into federal telework and agencies’ return-to-office policies. One fiscal 2025 spending bill that the GOP-led committee advanced this week includes language targeting teleworking feds. Language accompanying the bill would set new requirements for agencies to publicly report their policies on telework and office space. It would also require agencies to publicly share their office space utilization rates in the D.C. area. Unions are pushing back against the language, saying that telework policies should be tailored to the nature of employees’ work, rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Two Defense Department projects made the cut for the Presidential Federal Sustainability Awards the White House announced this week. One is a project the Air Force has been working on since 2019 at Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, about half of which was destroyed by Hurricane Michael the previous fall. The White House credited Air Force officials with rebuilding with a “base of the future” in mind, and using construction techniques that should make the installation more resilient against severe weather. The second is the huge Edwards Air Force Base solar project, which became one of the world’s biggest solar and battery storage facilities when officials cut the ribbon last year. The 4,000-acre project is also DoD’s biggest public-private partnership to date.
  • The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) finalizes the "fast pass" approval process for AI tools. The FedRAMP cloud security program is opening up its doors to specific types of generative artificial intelligence capabilities for priority approvals starting August 31. Under the new emerging technology prioritization framework, FedRAMP is telling vendors to submit three types of GenAI tools for expedited reviews. The FedRAMP management office said it will start with GenAI tools used for chat interfaces and code generation, and debugging tools that use large language models and prompt-based image generation. It also will review associated application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide these functions. It will release the first list of prioritized AI tools by September 30.
  • The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency is managing a surge in security clearance applications. DCSA Director David Cattler said his agency is receiving up to 11,000 new applications for investigations every week. The surge has led to longer security clearance processing timelines. Cattler told the House Oversight Committee this week that secret-level cases are taking an average of 92 days to process and a top-secret case about 188 days.
    (An examination of DOD’s struggling background check system - House Oversight and Accountability Committee )
  • For the first time in a decade, the Government Accountability Office is out with a proposed revision of federal internal controls. Called the "Green Book," GAO said its changes emphasize preventive control activities and highlights management's responsibility for internal control at all levels and within all functions of an agency's structure, such as program and financial managers. The proposed revisions provide additional requirements, guidance and resources for addressing risk areas such as fraud, improper payments and information security when designing, implementing and operating an internal control system. GAO has not updated the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government since 2014. Comments on the proposed revisions are due by August 26.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is expanding a new cyber personnel system. DHS established the Cyber Talent Management System (CTMS) in 2021. It got off to a slow start, but DHS has now hired nearly 200 people using CTMS. DHS Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen said the department has made hundreds of offers using the system. Hysen told the House Homeland Security Committee that in the coming years, DHS will expand use of CTMS across the department.
  • The Partnership for Public Service is down to just six finalists for the 2024 Sammies People’s Choice Award. The finalists are part of the larger awards program, which recognizes the work of career civil servants. The People’s Choice finalists include one team that made it possible for non-tax forms to be electronically submitted to the IRS. Another finalist developed an app that lets veterans use their phones to make health care appointments and manage insurance claims. Voting on all six finalists is open to the public until July 12. The winner will be recognized later this year during a Sammies ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
    (2024 Sammies People’s Choice Award finalists - Partnership for Public Service)

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