The Anti-Kickback Act of 1986 (now codified at 41 U.S.C. chapter 87, Kickbacks,) was passed to deter subcontractors from making payments and contractors from accepting payments for the purpose of improperly obtaining or rewarding favorable treatment in connection with a prime contract or a subcontract relating to a prime contract. The Kickbacks statute—
(a) Prohibits any person from—
(1) Providing, attempting to provide, or offering to provide any kickback;
(2) Soliciting, accepting, or attempting to accept any kickback; or
(3) Including, directly or indirectly, the amount of any kickback in the contract price charged by a subcontractor to a prime contractor or a higher tier subcontractor or in the contract price charged by a prime contractor to the United States.
(b) Imposes criminal penalties on any person who knowingly and willfully engages in the prohibited conduct addressed in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
(c) Provides for the recovery of civil penalties by the United States from any person who knowingly engages in such prohibited conduct and from any person whose employee, subcontractor, or subcontractor employee provides, accepts, or charges a kickback.
(d) Provides that—
(1) The contracting officer may offset the amount of a kickback against monies owed by the United States to the prime contractor under the prime contract to which such kickback relates;
(2) The contracting officer may direct a prime contractor to withhold from any sums owed to a subcontractor under a subcontract of the prime contract the amount of any kickback which was or may be offset against the prime contractor under paragraph (d)(1) of this subsection; and
(3) An offset under paragraph (d)(1) or a direction under paragraph (d)(2) of this subsection is a claim by the Government for the purposes of 41 U.S.C. chapter 71, Contract Disputes.
(e) Authorizes contracting officers to order that sums withheld under paragraph (d)(2) of this subsection be paid to the contracting agency, or if the sum has already been offset against the prime contractor, that it be retained by the prime contractor.
(f) Requires the prime contractor to notify the contracting officer when the withholding under paragraph (d)(2) of this subsection has been accomplished unless the amount withheld has been paid to the Government.
(g) Requires a prime contractor or subcontractor to report in writing to the inspector general of the contracting agency, the head of the contracting agency if the agency does not have an inspector general, or the Attorney General any possible violation of the Kickbacks statute when the prime contractor or subcontractor has reasonable grounds to believe such violation may have occurred.
(h) Provides that, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there has been a violation of the Kickbacks statute with respect to any prime contract, the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general of the contracting agency, or a representative of such contracting agency designated by the head of the agency if the agency does not have an inspector general, shall have access to and may inspect the facilities and audit the books and records, including any electronic data or records, of any prime contractor or subcontractor under a prime contract awarded by such agency.
(i) Requires each contracting agency to include in each prime contract exceeding $150,000 for other than commercial items (see Part 12), a requirement that the prime contractor shall—
(1) Have in place and follow reasonable procedures designed to prevent and detect violations of the Kickbacks statute in its own operations and direct business relationships (e.g., company ethics rules prohibiting kickbacks by employees, agents, or subcontractors; education programs for new employees and subcontractors, explaining policies about kickbacks, related company procedures and the consequences of detection; procurement procedures to minimize the opportunity for kickbacks; audit procedures designed to detect kickbacks; periodic surveys of subcontractors to elicit information about kickbacks; procedures to report kickbacks to law enforcement officials; annual declarations by employees of gifts or gratuities received from subcontractors; annual employee declarations that they have violated no company ethics rules; personnel practices that document unethical or illegal behavior and make such information available to prospective employers); and
(2) Cooperate fully with any Federal agency investigating a possible violation of the Kickbacks statute.