Debarment of Firms for Anti-Trust Violations

B-200344: Sep 29, 1980

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An authorized certifying officer of the National Mediation Board (NMB) requested an advance decision as to whether certain firms which recently pled guilty to criminal violations of Federal anti-trust statutes should be debarred. Six firms submitted bids in response to an invitation for bids issued by NMB for stenographic reporting services for fiscal year 1981. With the exception of one firm, all the firms which submitted bids pled guilty to violations of Federal anti-trust statutes. Essentially, these violations involved conspiracies to submit noncompetitive bids for the provisions of reporting services to the Government. The one innocent firm pointed out that Federal Procurement Regulations authorize executive agencies to debar a firm for conviction under the Federal anti-trust statutes rising out of the submission of bids, and requested that NMB debar all other bidders. Although GAO has exclusive authority to debar firms for violations of the Davis-Bacon Act, debarment under the Federal anti-trust statutes is not for initial consideration by GAO. The decision to debar for anti-trust convictions is within the discretion of the procuring agency. Therefore, GAO could not determine for NMB whether the firms in question should be debarred.

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