Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IX. Prohibited Actions; Remedies.


§ 2–359.01. Oral agreements.

(a) A District employee shall not enter into an oral agreement with a contractor to provide goods or services to the District government without a valid written contract. A violation of this paragraph shall be cause for termination of employment of the District employee.

(b) A District employee shall not authorize payment for the value of goods or services received without a valid written contract. This subsection shall not apply to a payment required by court order, a final decision of the Contract Appeals Board, a settlement, or an approval by the CPO in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.

(c) Except as authorized under subsection (d) of this section, a contractor who enters into an oral agreement with a District employee to provide goods or services to the District government without a valid written contract shall not be paid. If the oral agreement was entered into by a District employee at the direction of a supervisor, the supervisor shall be terminated.

(d)(1) The CPO shall review, verify, and either approve or disapprove a request submitted by an agency director for authorization for payment for goods or services received without a valid written contract. A request shall not be approved without written notification of the disciplinary action taken by the relevant personnel authority against the responsible employee.

(2) If the employee who authorized payment or delivery of goods or services without a valid written contract is the CPO, the matter shall be referred to the Mayor for appropriate disciplinary action and the Mayor shall state in writing the disciplinary action taken before the CPO may approve or disapprove the request.

(3) The disciplinary action prescribed by this paragraph shall be in accordance with subchapter XVI-A of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-616.51 et seq.].


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 901, 58 DCR 1185.)


§ 2–359.02. Improper contracts.

(a) A contract entered into in violation of this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to this chapter shall be void.

(b) A contract entered into in violation of this chapter or the rules issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be void if:

(1) It is determined in a proceeding pursuant to this chapter or subsequent judicial review that good faith has been shown by all parties; and

(2) The violation of the provisions of this chapter and the rules issued pursuant to this chapter was de minimis.

(c) If a contract is determined to be void under subsection (a) of this subsection, a contractor who has entered into the contract in good faith, without directly contributing to a violation and without knowledge of any violation of the act or rules issued pursuant to this chapter prior to the awarding of the contract, shall be compensated for costs actually incurred until the date that the contract was determined to be void.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 902, 58 DCR 1185.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-360.08.


§ 2–359.03. Termination of contracts.

(a) The CPO may terminate, without liability, any contract if:

(1) The contractor has been convicted of a crime arising out of or in connection with the procurement of any work to be done or any payment to be made under the contract; or

(2) There has been a violation of this chapter.

(b) If a contract is terminated pursuant to this section, the contractor shall:

(1) Be paid only the actual costs of the work performed to the date of termination, plus termination costs, if any;

(2) Refund, and the CPO shall recover, all profits or fixed fees realized under the contract; and

(3) Refund, and the CPO shall recover, any other fee, commission, percentage, gift, compensation, or similar consideration paid, including contingent fees and brokerage fees.

(c) The rights and remedies in this section shall be in addition to any other right or remedy provided by law and the exercise of any of them shall not constitute a waiver of any other right or remedy provided by law.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 903, 58 DCR 1185.)


§ 2–359.04. Sovereign immunity defense not available.

Unless otherwise specifically provided by law of the District, the District government and every officer, department, agency, or other unit of the District government shall not raise the defense of sovereign immunity in the courts of the District in an action based upon a written procurement contract executed on behalf of the District government.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 904, 58 DCR 1185.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.01.


§ 2–359.05. District government not liable for punitive damages.

In an action in contract based upon a written contract executed on behalf of the District government, or by an official or employee acting within the scope of the official’s or the employee’s authority, the District government, and its officers, departments, agencies, or other units of government, shall not be liable for punitive damages.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 905, 58 DCR 1185.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.02.


§ 2–359.06. Claims by District government against contractors.

(a)(1) All claims by the District government against a contractor arising under or relating to a contract shall be decided by the contracting officer, who shall issue a decision in writing and furnish a copy of the decision to the contractor.

(2) The decision shall be supported by reasons and shall inform the contractor of his or her rights as provided in this subchapter. Specific findings of fact shall not be required, but, if made, shall not be binding in any subsequent proceeding.

(3) This subsection shall not apply to a claim or dispute for penalties or forfeitures prescribed by a law or rule which another District government agency is specifically authorized to administer, settle, or determine.

(4) This subsection shall not authorize the contracting officer to settle, compromise, pay, or otherwise adjust any claim involving fraud.

(b) The decision of the contracting officer shall be final and not subject to review unless an administrative appeal or action for judicial review is timely commenced as authorized by § 2-360.04.

(c) This subchapter shall not prohibit the contracting officer from including a clause in District government contracts requiring that pending final decision of an appeal, action, or final settlement, a contractor shall proceed diligently with performance of the contract in accordance with the decision of the contracting officer.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 906, 58 DCR 1185.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.03.


§ 2–359.07. Debarment and suspension.

(a)(1) After reasonable notice to a person, and reasonable opportunity to be heard:

(A) The CPO shall debar a person from consideration for award of contracts or subcontracts for any conviction under subsection (c)(1) through (3) of this section, for a judicial determination of a violation under subsection (c)(4) of this section, or for a CPO determination of a violation under subsection (c)(5) through (7) of this section, unless the CPO makes a finding in writing that it would be contrary to the best interests of the District to do so or the present responsibility of the person is such that a debarment would not be warranted; and

(B) The CPO may debar a person from consideration for award of contracts or subcontracts if one or more of the causes listed in subsection (b) of this section exist.

(2) The debarment shall not be for a period of more than 5 years.

(b)(1) The CPO shall suspend a person from consideration for award of contracts or subcontracts for any conviction listed in subsection (c)(1) through (3) of this section, for a judicial determination of a violation under subsection (c)(4) or (5) of this section, or for a CPO determination of a violation under subsection (c)(5) through (7) of this section, unless the CPO makes a finding in writing that it would be contrary to the best interests of the District to do so.

(2) The CPO may suspend a person from consideration for award of contracts or subcontracts if the person is charged with the commission of any offense described in subsection (c) of this section and if the CPO makes a finding in writing that such suspension would be in the best interests of the District unless the present responsibility of the person is such that a suspension would not be warranted.

(c) Causes for debarment or suspension include the following:

(1) Conviction for the commission of a criminal offense incident to obtaining, or attempting to obtain, a public or private contract or subcontract or in the performance of the contract or subcontract;

(2) Conviction under this chapter or under any other District, federal, or state law for fraud, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, receiving stolen property, or any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity which currently affects the contractor’s responsibility as a District government contractor;

(3) Conviction under District, federal, or state antitrust laws arising out of the submission of bids or proposals;

(4) A violation under subchapter I of Chapter 3B of this chapter [§ § 2-381.01 through 2-381.09];

(5) A false assertion of certified business enterprise status or eligibility as defined in subchapter IX-A of Chapter 2 of this title [§ 2-218.01 et seq.];

(6) A violation of contract provisions, as set forth below, of a character which is regarded by the CPO to be sufficiently serious to justify debarment action:

(A) Willful failure, without good cause, to perform in accordance with the specifications or within the time limit provided in the contract; or

(B) A recent record of failure to perform or of unsatisfactory performance in accordance with the terms or conditions of one or more contracts; provided, that failure to perform or unsatisfactory performance caused by acts beyond the control of the contractor shall not be considered to be bases for debarment;

(6A) A violation of subchapter II of Chapter 13 of Title 32 [§ 32-1331.01 et seq.];

(7) Any other cause the CPO determines to be sufficiently serious and compelling to affect responsibility as a District government contractor, including debarment by another governmental entity for any cause listed in rules; or

(8) Submission of a bid or proposal to contract with an agency or office of the District by a person debarred or suspended pursuant to a conviction under subsection (c)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, unless the CPO has provided in the submission a written statement to the Chairman of the Council of the compelling reasons to consider the bid or proposal. A second debarment resulting from the submission of a bid or proposal by a debarred person shall result in a permanent debarment pursuant to subsection (k) of this section.

(d)(1) After reasonable notice to a person and reasonable opportunity to be heard, the CPO may debar the person from consideration for award of any contract or subcontract if the CPO receives written notification from:

(A) The Chairman of the Council or the chairperson of a Council committee that the person has willfully failed to cooperate in a Council or Council committee investigation conducted pursuant to § 1-204.13;

(B) The District of Columbia Auditor that the person has willfully failed to cooperate in an audit conducted pursuant to § 1-204.55 or to produce books or records pursuant to § 1-354.18; or

(C) The Inspector General that the person has willfully failed to cooperate in an audit, inspection, or investigation conducted pursuant to § 1-301.115a(a)(3)) or to produce books and records pursuant to § 1-354.18.

(2) The CPO shall issue a decision on a debarment recommended through a notification received under paragraph (1) of this subsection within 30 days of receipt of the notification.

(3) The debarment shall be for a period of 5 years, unless the CPO receives written notification during the 5-year period from the Chairman of the Council or the chairperson of a Council committee, the District of Columbia Auditor, or the Inspector General that the debarred person has cooperated in the audit, inspection, or investigation referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(4) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “willfully failed to cooperate” means:

(A) Intentionally failed to attend and give testimony at a public hearing convened in accordance with the Rules of Organization and Procedure for the Council; or

(B) Intentionally failed to provide documents, books, papers, or other information upon request of the Council or a Council committee, the District of Columbia Auditor, or the Inspector General.

(e) The CPO shall issue a written decision to debar or suspend a person. The decision shall:

(1) State the relevant facts and the reasons for the action taken;

(2) Describe the present responsibility of the person;

(3) Describe whether the debarment is in the best interests of the District; and

(4) Inform the debarred or suspended person of the right to judicial or administrative review as provided in this chapter.

(f) A copy of the decision pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall be final and conclusive unless fraudulent or unless the debarred or suspended person appeals to the Contract Appeals Board within 60 days of receipt of the CPO’s decision by the person.

(g) The filing of an action pursuant to subsection (f) of this section shall not stay the CPO’s decision.

(h)(1) Unless otherwise indicated in the debarment or suspension decision, the debarment or suspension of a person shall be effective for all District government agencies.

(2) Unless otherwise indicated in the debarment or suspension decision, the debarment or suspension of a person shall constitute a debarment or suspension of any affiliate of that person.

(i) If a person is charged with or convicted of committing any offense listed in subsection (c)(1) through (5) of this section, the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or the United States Attorney, whoever is responsible for prosecuting the charge, shall immediately notify the CPO of the charge or conviction and shall provide such information to the CPO as may otherwise be permitted by law to enable the CPO to take any action authorized by this section. The CPO, in turn, shall immediately notify both the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and the United States Attorney of any action taken or finding made under this section.

(j)(1) The Office of Contracting and Procurement shall compile and maintain a list of persons who have been debarred or suspended in the District to be known as the “Excluded Parties List,” which shall include:

(A) The name and phone number of the OCP official responsible for maintaining the list;

(B) The names and addresses of suspended and debarred persons;

(C) The name of the agency that instituted the suspension or debarment;

(D) The cause of the suspension or debarment; and

(E) The dates and terms of each suspension or debarment.

(2)(A) The Excluded Parties List shall be updated monthly and prominently published on the OCP’s website.

(B) Copies of the Excluded Parties List shall be distributed electronically to District contracting officers and contract administrators on a monthly basis.

(C)(i) Bids or proposals received from a person named on the Excluded Parties List shall be rejected unless the CPO provides the person with a written statement before the bid or proposal is submitted stating the compelling reasons why the bid or proposal should be considered. The CPO’s determination shall be appended to the bid or proposal submitted.

(ii) If the bid or proposal is awarded to the debarred or suspended person, the award, along with the CPO’s determination, shall be prominently published on the OCP’s website within 15 days of the issuance of the award and published in the District of Columbia Register as soon as is practicable.

(3) Immediately before the award of a contract, the contracting officer or administrator shall review the most recent version of the Excluded Parties List to ensure that persons being considered for the award are not named on the list. If a person being considered for the award appears on the Excluded Parties List, the contracting officer or administrator shall notify the person in writing that the person’s bid or proposal shall be rejected unless the person provides a written statement from the CPO in accordance with sib-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph within 15 days of receipt of the written notification.

(k) A person who has been debarred 2 times by the District shall be banned permanently from contracting with a District agency or office; provided, that the suspensions leading to debarment resulted from a violation, conviction, or judicial determination listed in subsection (b)(1) of this section but not a charge listed in subsection (b)(2) of this subsection. A permanent ban from contracting with the District bars a person from consideration for award of contracts or subcontracts permanently; provided, that 10 years after the person’s debarment, the person may be eligible for reinstatement if the CPO provides written notification to the Chairman of the Council that the person’s business practices have been reformed.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 907, 58 DCR 1185; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-298, § 2, 60 DCR 2631; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-300, § 3, 60 DCR 2679; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 1062, 62 DCR 10905.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.04.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-353.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-298 deleted “or” from the end of (c)(5) and (c)(6)(B); added “or” to the end of (c)(7); added (c)(8); and added (j) and (k).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-300 deleted “or” from the end of (c)(6); and added (c)(6A).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36 rewrote (d).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1062 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).


§ 2–359.08. Claims by contractors against the District government.

(a) All claims by a contractor against the District government arising under or relating to a contract shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the contracting officer for a decision.

(b) Within 120 days after receipt of a claim, the contracting officer shall issue a decision, whenever possible taking into account factors such as the size and complexity of the claim and the adequacy of the information in support of the claim provided by the contractor.

(c) Any failure by the contracting officer to issue a decision on a contract claim within the required time period shall be deemed to be a denial of the claim and shall authorize the commencement of an appeal on the claim as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

(d)(1) If a contractor is unable to support any part of his or her claim and it is determined that the inability is attributable to a material misrepresentation of fact or fraud on the part of the contractor, the contractor shall be liable to the District government for an amount equal to the unsupported part of the claim in addition to all costs to the District government attributable to the cost of reviewing that part of the contractor’s claim.

(2) Liability under this section shall be determined within 6 years of the commission of the misrepresentation of fact or fraud.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 908, 58 DCR 1185.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.05.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-360.04.


§ 2–359.09. Interest.

Interest on amounts found due to a contractor on claims shall be payable at a rate set in § 28-3302(b) applicable to judgments against the District government from the date the contracting officer receives the claim until payment of the claim. Interest on amounts found due to the District from a contractor on claims shall be payable at the rate set in § 28-3302(b) applicable to judgments against the District government from the date the contractor receives a contracting officer’s written decision asserting the claim on behalf of the District until payment of the claim.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 909, 58 DCR 1185.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 2-308.06.


§ 2–359.10. Employees subject to employee conduct standards of Merit Personnel Act.

(a) Except for those District government employees employed by agencies not subject to Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-601.01 et seq.], District government employees who participate in the procurement process shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter XVIII of Chapter 6 of Title 1 [§ 1-618.01 et seq.].

(b) Participation in the procurement process shall include involvement, either directly or indirectly, in:

(1) The decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, or preparation of any part of a purchase request;

(2) Influencing the content of any specification or purchase standard;

(3) Rendering of advice;

(4) An investigation or audit; or

(5) Any other advisory capacity pertaining to any contract, subcontract, solicitation, or proposal.


(Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-371, § 910, 58 DCR 1185.)