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After years of rancor and debate, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the FAR Councils in April 2011 finally issued a proposed revision to the regulations governing organizational conflict of interests (OCIs) in federal procurement. The proposed rule marked an extraordinary change of direction - in some ways, it would reorder policy priorities built up over years of case law - but also may have reflected the drafters’ nagging ambivalence about the new direction. The proposed OCI rule marked a significant change in direction in part because policymakers’ core concerns - their core fears concerning conflicts of interest - have themselves shifted over time. Because new means of addressing those concerns are constantly emerging and evolving, we know that the rules will continue to evolve. The article argues, however, that as the OCI rules advance, they should be meshed more seamlessly with other advances in procurement law, such as new initiatives in contractor compliance and efforts abroad, for example through the European procurement directives and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), to regulate conflicts of interest in procurement.

GW Paper Series

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 557; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 557