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Federal Acquisition Regulation; FAR Case 2008-026, GAO Access to Contractor Employees

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have adopted as final, without change, an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 871 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (NDAA) which allows the Government Accountability Office to interview current contractor employees during the audit of the contractor's records.

DATES:

Effective Date: October 14, 2009.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For clarification of content, contact Mr. Edward Loeb, Director, Contract Policy Division at (202) 501-0650. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at (202) 501-4755. Please cite FAC 2005-37, FAR case 2008-026.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

Section 871 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (NDAA) (Pub. L. 110-417) added language allowing the Comptroller General to interview current employees regarding transactions being examined during an audit of contracting records. The Act revises 41 U.S.C. 254d(c)(1) and 10 U.S.C. 2313(c)(1) by inserting before the period: “and to interview any current employee regarding such transactions”. To implement the Act, FAR clauses 52.215-2, Audit and Records—Negotiation, and 52.214-26, Audit and Records—Sealed Bidding, were amended to add the required statutory language. The statute did not specify that section 871 apply to commercial item contracts and therefore was not applied to FAR clause 52.212-5, Contract Terms and Conditions Required to Implement Statutes or Executive Order—Commercial Items. Section 34 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (OFPP), 41 U.S.C. 430, exempts commercial item acquisitions from new provisions of law, such as section 871, unless (1) the law provides criminal or civilian penalties, (2) the law expressly refers to 41 U.S.C. 430 and states that it applies to commercial item contracts, or (3) the FAR Council makes a written determination that it would not be in the best interest of the Federal Government to exempt commercial item contracts. Thus, this new provision was added to the list of inapplicable laws at FAR 12.503(a).

DoD, GSA, and NASA published an interim rule with a request for comments in the Federal Register at 74 FR 14649 on March 31, 2009. No comments were received. The interim rule is converted to a final rule without change.

This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was subject to review under section 6(b) of Executive Order 12886, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because only a small number of small businesses are audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Currently Start Printed Page 52852many GAO audits of small business contractors include contractor employee interviews. This Act is designed to cover those incidents in which the contractor does not voluntarily make the contractor employees available for interviews. Therefore, it is not anticipated that interviewing any current employee regarding such contract transactions will have a significant impact.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 12 and 52

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Dated: October 5, 2009.

Al Matera,

Director, Acquisition Policy Division.

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Interim Rule Adopted as Final Without Change

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Accordingly, the interim rule amending

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[FR Doc. E9-24568 Filed 10-13-09; 8:45 am]

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