Antitrust Division Introduces New Public Corruption Program
Antitrust Division Introduces New Public Corruption Program
The US Department of Justice has introduced a new inter-agency taskforce to combat
antitrust violations in public procurement. The new program will specifically target procurement collusion in major US cities. The participating agencies include the FBI, Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the US Postal Service and the General Services Administration.

The agencies’ goal is to “deter, detect and prosecute antitrust crimes” that arise from government procurement. According to the DOJ, the program will ensure that taxpayers receive the full benefits of competitive bidding.

The program is a follow-on to increased enforcement efforts by the DOJ to identify and eliminate public corruption. The DOJ announced the program as a warning to contractors to evaluate their antitrust compliance programs. The DOJ recently issued new compliance policy guidelines aimed at reducing anticompetitive bidding practices.

The Deputy Assistant Attorney General recently addressed the American Bar Association’s 2019 Public Procurement Symposium. In that address, he noted an apparent increase in corruption and fraud in public purchasing. He also stated that the Antitrust Division will coordinate with other agencies to “prosecute conduct that deprives the government – and in turn, the taxpayers – of the benefits of fair competition.”

According to the DOJ, public purchasers are more vulnerable to anticompetitive bidding because of the size of government purchases, and the low number of service providers. Further, monitoring of government contractors is difficult, and certain circumstances – like disasters – impact the immediate need for services and diminish competition. Currently, the DOJ has about 100 open antitrust cases. About one-third of these involve public procurement.

Federal Criminal Antitrust Attorney


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