DOE's Conflict of Interest Contracting Provisions

EMD-79-85: Published: Jul 2, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1979.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a new conflicts of interest regulation for procurement policies and implementing procedures. Organizational conflicts of interest refer to the following relationship or situation: a present or prospective contractor has past, present, or currently planned interests that either directly or indirectly relate to the work to be performed under a DOE contract, and these interests may (1) diminish the present or prospective contractor's capacity to give impartial, technically sound, objective assistance and advice, or (2) result in the present or prospective contractor being given an unfair advantage when competing for other DOE contracts. The Secretary of DOE cannot enter into any contractual arrangement until he finds either that a conflict of interest is not likely to exist or that conditions can be written into the contract which will avoid or mitigate the conflict. The prospective contractor is required by the regulation to provide DOE with a disclosure statement which describes all relevant facts relating to the work to be performed and whether the contractor may have a conflict of interest.

The new organizational conflicts of interest regulation has significant improvements over the old regulation. The most significant changes are those which relate to: (1) immediate disclosure by the contractor of a conflict discovered after contract award; (2) applicability of the regulation to contract modifications; and (3) full disclosure by contractors of past interests that bear on the prospective contract. According to DOE officials, the prospective contractor's responses to the conflicts-of-interest requirements are evaluated by a source evaluation board which also considers technical and price proposals. It was found that there are 50 contracts awarded under the prior regulation which should be brought under the new regulation as soon as possible.

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