Friday, June 13, 2014

DCAA May Get Statutory Authority to Interview Contractor Employees

Back on May 30th, we reported that Senator McCaskill had introduced an amendment to the Senate version of the fiscal year 2015 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that would grant specific authority to DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) to interview contractor employees. The amendment made it through the Senate Committee on Armed Services and is now ready for full Senate consideration.

We've  now had a chance to review the specific wording of the amendment. It provides as follows:
Sec. 825. Authority for Defense Contract Audit Agency to Interview Contractor Employees in Connection With Examination of Records.
     (a) Authority. - Section 2313(a)(1) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting ", interview employees," after "is authorized to inspect the plant".
     (b) Applicability. - The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to contracts entered into after the date of the enactment of this Act.
     (c) Regulations. - Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall revise the Department of Defense Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement the amendment made by sub section (a).
If passed, Section 2313(a)(1) would read: "The head of an agency, acting through an authorized representative, is authorized to inspect the plant, interview employees, and audit the records of - "

Although Sec 825 of the 2015 NDAA specifically mentions DCAA, the Code Section it modifies applies to any contract auditor, regardless of agency.

This amendment will give similar access to DCAA that the comptroller general (GAO) already enjoys under subsection (c)(1) of the same section.

As we mentioned before, the contractor employee interview battles have been fought and settled. There are very few cases where contractors try to prevent auditors from such employee interviews. Of course, buoyed with statutory authority, contract auditors might turn more aggressive in their interview techniques. Hopefully, they do not turn into interrogations.

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