The Congressional War on Contractors

19 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2013

See all articles by Jessica Tillipman

Jessica Tillipman

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: 2013


The U.S. Suspension & Debarment regime is designed to ensure that the federal government does business only with “responsible” partners. One of the most fundamentally (and frequently) misunderstood aspects of the FAR 9.4 suspension & debarment system is that these tools are only to be used for the purpose of protecting the Government, not to punish contractors for their past misconduct. Unfortunately, recent congressional initiatives demonstrate many legislators’ desire to transform debarment into a tool of punishment by banishing contractors from the procurement system “with little consideration of whether such action is needed or fair." Instead of focusing on the government’s nuanced best interests, certain members of Congress continue to propose unnecessary, and in many instances counterproductive, legislation designed to fundamentally overhaul the debarment regime, often undermining contractor due process rights in the process. This article provides a sharp critique of recent congressional initiatives designed to transform the suspension and debarment regime into a punitive and non-discretionary sanction.

Keywords: Too Big to Debar, FCPA, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Government Contracts, Procurement, Corruption, Anti-corruption, Bribery, Ant-ibribery, Suspension, Debarment, Corporations, Administrative Agreements, Congress, Legislation, Appropriations, Compliance, Collateral Consequences

JEL Classification: F23, G15, G18, G38, H10, H40, H50, H41, H54, H56, H57, H59, H77, K14, K19, K22, K23, K33, K42, L14

Suggested Citation

Tillipman, Jessica, The Congressional War on Contractors (2013). George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 45, p. 235, 2013, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-110, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-110, Available at SSRN:

Jessica Tillipman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
2029942896 (Phone)
2029943362 (Fax)


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