DOING BUSINESS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – PART II
The Government has a very strict code behavior that dictates the interactions between government officials and contractors. The policies and procedures for avoiding improper business practices and personal conflicts of interest and for dealing with their apparent or actual occurrence are defined in the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) Part 3. Here are some of the excerpts. I have always advised all my clients to read and understand FAR part 3-101.1 and 3-101.2 prior to commencing any business related contact with Federal Government personnel. I will not list the exact text of these two parts in this article. However, here are some real life situations. - Do not feel offended if Government personnel refuel to have lunch with you. The FAR permits a maximum exchange of monetary value totaling $25 in any calendar year. I recommend the following. 1. Do not invite a Government official to lunch or dinner or 2. If you would like to invite them to lunch start the conversation with “I understand FAR Part 3, would you like to accompany me for lunch if we can both pay our own share.” You are more likely to get a positive response. However do not be offended if they decline. - NEVER offer a gift to any Government Official. You may leave them brochures, pamphlets, printed presentations that describe your business capabilities. It is generally acceptable if these brochures contain some cheap giveaway like a pen or key chain with your company logo etc. - NEVER give Government Personnel tickets to sports events, concerts etc. Most of these policies (written and unwritten) are well known to seasoned Government Contractors. However, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner that is new to doing business with the Government, I recommend the following. 1. Invest the time to read and understand important parts of the FAR, or 2. Hire a consultant to explain these nuances to you and guide you through your first six months of Government contracting.
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