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GSA Releases Statement on Trump Hotel Lease at Old Post Office

Following President-Elect Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday announcing how he will structure his business dealings once he is in office, the General Services Administration (GSA) released a statement regarding Trump’s lease of the Old Post Office site, now the Trump International Hotel. The statement reads: “GSA understands that an announcement has been made to change the business structure of the Trump Organization. We are seeking additional information that explains and describes any new organizational structure as it applies to the Old Post Office lease. Upon receipt, consistent with our treatment of any contract to which we are a party, we will review this new organizational structure and determine its compliance with all the terms and conditions of the lease.” Many have complained that the president’s lease presents a conflict of interest.

OMB Extends Small Business Contractor Payment Policy

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan has issued a new memo, extending the White House’s policy to provide accelerated payments to small businesses and small business subcontractors. The policy states that to the full extent permitted by law, agencies shall accelerate payments to small business contractors with the goal of making payments within 15 days of receipt of relevant documents. The policy also established requirements for agencies to report on their progress in ensuring prompt payment to small business subcontractors. The memo extended the policy to December 31, 2017.

Tech Group Calls for Updates to Procurement System

In a blog post, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)—a trade group representing large information technology (IT) companies—called for the new Congress and the Trump administration to collaborate with the tech industry. Andy Halataei, ITI’s senior vice president of governmental affairs, outlined four priority areas the tech industry and government should work together on, including updating the tax code and ensuring market access. Halataei also identified updating the acquisition and procurement process, writing: “Congress should reform the way the federal government procures and utilizes technology to ensure all government users keep pace with innovation and modern solutions.”

Senators Reintroduce DIGIT Act

A group of senators reintroduced the Developing and Growing the Internet of Things, or DIGIT, Act this week, designed to promote the growth of the connected device industry. The bipartisan bill would establish a working group, including both federal and private-sector representatives, to identify the regulations or practices “inhibiting or could inhibit the development of the internet of things,” the bill says. That working group should also identify the policies that would “improve coordination among federal agencies with jurisdiction over the internet of things.”

Pharmaceutical Company Pays $350 Million to Settle False Claims Allegations

The Department of Justice announced that Shire Pharmaceuticals, LLC and other subsidiaries of Shire plc (Shire) will pay $350 million to settle federal and state False Claims Act allegations that the company engaged in a kickback scheme to get clinics and doctors to use its product. The product in question is “Dermagraft,” a bioengineered human skin substitute. DOJ alleged that Dermagraft salespersons unlawfully offered everything from lavish dinners to unwarranted payments for purported speaking engagements and bogus case studies to induce the use of Dermagraft.

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