…and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
~ Thomas Jefferson
…and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.
~ George Washington
Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done.
~ Abraham Lincoln
Cassidy Law provides legal services to clients as they interact with governments whether because they are facing criminal charges or are developing business with governments and providing goods and services to governments. Cassidy Law strives to ensure that its clients have peace of mind and confidence regarding the outcome of their legal issues.
If you are under investigation; charged with a crime; a witness to possible illegal actions; subpoenaed to testify; required to produce documents for the government; or receive a letter from the government saying you are under investigation, Cassidy Law can assist you.
If your business is under investigation; charged with a crime; has been subpoenaed to produce documents; or your employees have been subpoenaed, Cassidy Law can assist you.
Cassidy Law can also provide guidance on compliantly working with governments to include working with your business to establish or improve an ethics and compliance program so your business may proactively manage the risk of violating laws or making unethical decisions.
Interacting with Government Officials and Employees
Federal Government Contracting
Ethics & Compliance
In today’s dynamic legal environment, the laws regulating our behavior as individuals and the behavior of businesses have become more complex. As a result, individuals and businesses are increasingly exposed to civil and criminal liability.
Further, when interacting and developing business with governments, and providing goods and services to governments, a business and its employees must understand and follow all applicable laws. This is not easy, even for the most seasoned business. Foreign governments, the U.S. Federal Government, and state and local governments all have their own approach, creating a patchwork of intersecting and sometimes competing laws and regulations that constantly change. It is a challenging environment with risks to businesses and individuals alike, including the prospect of criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits, and damage to an organization's reputation.
You may be lobbying and not even know it. Depending on the applicable law, a business and its employees or outside consultants may be required to register as lobbyists when communicating with government officials or employees to establish good will or to develop business. Lobbying registration is often required within days of the contact with the government and usually requires an on-going duty to register. When registering, lobbyists must disclose time spent, expenses incurred, and communications that occurred during the lobbying activity. Often, lobbying laws require a certain time or expense threshold be met for the communication to be considered lobbying. Registered lobbyists may also face additional requirements like being prohibited from buying lunch for a government employee or being required to wear a badge when at a government site.
Cassidy Law can identify the lobbying laws that apply to your business and can assist you in complying with those laws.
The US Government, foreign governments and international organizations have made a policy commitment to combat corruption globally to improve government accountability, foster economic growth and decrease poverty. These initiatives have increased both the number of anti-corruption laws and the number of actions seeking to enforce them.
In many countries businesses are owned, controlled or managed by the government, government officials, royal families, or members of a political party. As a result, providing favors, business courtesies or other hospitality to retain business or to develop new business may violate anti-corruption laws like the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). So, when developing business with a government client, or providing goods and services to them, you need to be sure that your efforts to build relationships do not violate anti-corruption laws through improper business courtesies or favors.
Also, since your business may need to rely on local agents, consultants, distributors, or other business partners to develop relationships or to sell your products and services in many countries, you need to make sure that your business partners are complying with the laws and that the fees or commissions you pay them do not enable or facilitate behavior that may violate anti-corruption laws, like the FCPA.
Although the business community is increasingly aware of global anti-corruption efforts, you must remember that, when doing business with the Federal Government, state governments, and local governments in the US, you also have to follow the anti-corruption laws of the jurisdiction where you are doing business to avoid illegal conduct when interacting with officials or employees who work for governments here in the U.S.
Call or email Cassidy Law for legal counsel on complying with the FCPA and anti-corruption laws, regulations and policies of the Federal Government, state and local governments and other organizations like NATO, the World Bank or the United Nations. To learn more about proactively managing the risk of non-compliance with anti-corruption laws, review the Ethics and Compliance section below.
"Pay-to-play" is a phrase used to describe instances when a business or one if its employees helps a candidate for office in exchange for a government contract. In an attempt to stop the practice of trading political support for government contracts, some state and local governments have passed laws that limit or restrict campaign contributions and gifts from organizations and individuals seeking to do business, or already doing business, with the government. These laws differ by jurisdiction.
If your organization (whether commercial or non-profit) or its employees support a candidate for political office by writing a check to the candidate or his or her committee, hosting fundraisers, or even volunteering time to the candidate's campaign, you may be excluding your business from government contract work, or your business may be exposed to criminal and civil liability. Campaign laws may not only limit or restrict your business or your employees from making campaign contributions, but may also limit or restrict your employees' spouses and dependent children from making contributions. Some campaign laws may require your business to disclose the contributions your business and your employees made; or your business and your employees may be limited or restricted in making campaign contributions for only a short period of time or only for certain types of contracts, like a sole source contract.
Cassidy Law can identify the campaign finance laws that apply to your business and can assist you in complying with those laws.
Who would have thought that lunch can be a prohibited "gift?" It can be, depending on the jurisdiction. Gift laws and ethics laws regulate when organizations may provide items of value to government persons or when a government person may accept an item of value. "Items of value" may include lunches, tickets to events, campaign contributions, offers of employment, and even invitations to seminars or training. Often these laws limit, restrict or require disclosure of gifts, meals, and other items of value. As a result, activities that are perfectly appropriate with commercial clients, like buying lunch, talking about employment opportunities with your organization, or inviting a client to attend a seminar or training, may violate Federal, state or local laws or agency regulations when you offer or provide them to a government person.
Sanctions can be significant. Providing a "gift" or "favor" in violation of the law may result in your organization or employees being suspended from doing business with the government or being targeted for criminal or civil penalties.
Cassidy Law can identify the gift and ethics laws that apply to your business and can assist you in complying with those laws.
Federal Government contracting has exploded in the past several years. As a result, the Federal Government has become a significant client for many businesses. But, providing goods or services to the Federal Government requires that organizations, whether a commercial or non-profit, precisely follow the intricate laws and regulations on how to interact with the Federal Government, how to develop business with the Federal Government, how to provide services or products to the Federal Government, and how to invoice the Federal Government. Depending on how much business you do with the Federal Government, you may be required to have a documented ethics and compliance program. Even if you do not do enough business to require a formal program, your business must always be "responsible" in order to do business for the Federal Government.
Federal Government contracting laws cover many aspects of working with the Federal Government. For example, the False Claims Act essentially mandates that certain information your business provides to the Federal Government and that the Federal Government relies on to make a decision or to pay invoices must be accurate, complete and current. Also, your organization needs to avoid having an organizational conflict of interest in executing Federal Government contracts. And, in certain Federal Government contracts, employees must certify that they do not have a personal or financial interest in performing the work. There are also laws that regulate the information the Federal Government may provide during the procurement process; that regulate recruiting Federal Government employees; and that regulate interactions with prime contractors or subcontractors.
Failing to comply with these laws and regulations may result in criminal, civil or administrative penalties both to your organization and in many instances to the individual who has failed to comply. Even in instances when a Federal Government investigation or audit is resolved in your favor there are still significant costs as a result of responding to the investigation or audit. Finally, any finding of wrong-doing, will damage your business' reputation.
Call or email Cassidy Law for legal counsel on complying with Federal Government contracting laws and regulations. To learn more about programs that can help mitigate against improper behavior or more information about establishing a required ethics and compliance program, visit the Ethics and Compliance section.
Running a profitable and respected organization mandates that business leaders increase revenue and decrease costs. However, as governments, shareholders, media, business partners, customers and employees increasingly scrutinize business practices, businesses must also be confident that their operations not only comply with the laws, but that their decisions are integrity based. This combined with the fact that the Federal Government, all fifty states, countless local jurisdictions, and just as many foreign governments have their own laws and regulations, make it a challenge to not just follow the law but also to simply identify those laws that actually apply to your business.
An investment in an ethics and compliance program, responsive to the unique culture and business model of your organization will provide the framework to foster compliance. An effective way to avoid costly and time consuming investigations and criminal or civil litigation as well as reputational damage that can arise from a criminal investigation, a shareholder derivative suit, a whistleblower suit or a civil action, is to construct an ethics and compliance program that gives leadership confidence that employees have the resources needed to comply with the laws and act with integrity. Further, many businesses are required or encouraged by law, regulations or standards to have an ethics and compliance program. For example, most Federal Government contractors are required to have an ethics and compliance program. and to assure compliance with the FCPA businesses working with governments should also have a compliance program.
WIth particular focus on assisting clients who aspire to work with foreign, federal, state or local governments or who are currently working with governments, Cassidy Law can provide your business legal guidance to create or enhance on ethics and compliance program responsive to your business' particular compliance requirements and business needs.
As a result of increased government, shareholder, media and customer scrutiny along with recently enacted whistleblower laws that encourage employees to bring their issues to the government, businesses often need to conduct internal investigations of their operations or the choices that their leaders and employees have made. An investigation may also be necessary as a result of an internal question or concern raised by an employee; a complaint or dispute with a customer or business partner; or as a result of findings from an internal audit or review. A thorough, impartial and efficient investigation, conducted under attorney-client privilege, provides confidence that the matter was properly reviewed and thus may mitigate the risk of the complainant or a stakeholder seeking redress outside of your organization.
When faced with the need to conduct an investigation, Cassidy Law will coordinate with you to develop and document an investigative plan. After agreeing on an investigative strategy, Cassidy Law will review relevant documents and will craft appropriate questions and pose those questions in a fashion that elicits the necessary information. Working with Cassidy Law will afford you a straightforward assessment on the results of the investigation along with an assessment of the impact the findings may have on your business. Cassidy Law will identify the applicable laws and make practical recommendations on executing the next steps to prevent or mitigate damage to your business, and to enhance or improve your compliance programs.
If you need advice on whether an investigation is necessary, or if you have concluded that an investigation is necessary and need assistance in conducting it, call or email Cassidy Law.
Criminal charges, criminal investigations, grand jury investigations, Office of Inspector General investigations, or any government investigation are challenging matters which may impact your freedom, your financial security, your employment, your business, your reputation and, possibly, you and your family. Before you talk with the government about anything that you, a family member, co-worker, or friend may have done, you should first talk with a lawyer to help you understand the government's interest in the matter. After gaining an understanding of the facts from you, Cassidy Law will develop a plan to further investigate the matter and, if appropriate, will work with government investigators and prosecutors to gather all information relevant to your defense and to ensure the government provides all information to which you are entitled.
Ultimately, Cassidy Law will collaborate with you to develop a strategy to face and resolve the matter. Cassidy Law has experience with the criminal justice system and an understanding of how investigations, trials and plea agreements work. If your matter is best handled through negotiating an agreement with the government, Cassidy Law will negotiate a resolution with the government on your behalf. On the other hand, if your matter warrants a trial, Cassidy Law will provide you a determined, tenacious, and passionate defense.
Either way, Cassidy Law will provide you an honest assessment of your case so you can evaluate your options. Besides providing you a genuine and authentic lawyer and client relationship, Cassidy Law will focus your time and money on the issues that are determinative to your defense.
Call or email Cassidy Law for counsel if you think you may be facing criminal investigation, if you are under criminal investigation, if you have been charged with a crime, or if you have been subpoenaed.
A seasoned criminal litigator, Margaret is proficient in dealing with the criminal justice system. She has tried over a hundred jury and non-jury criminal cases to verdict and has been the lead attorney in a variety of criminal proceedings such as grand jury investigations, evidentiary motions, probation violation hearings, sentencing hearings, and plea negotiations.
In addition to criminal litigation experience, Margaret has counseled businesses on developing and executing effective ethics and compliance programs particularly when dealing with foreign, federal, state and local governments. She has provided guidance before and after legal issues have occurred on matters related to anti-corruption, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, ethics laws, the False Claims Act, political activity, government procurement, and conflicts of interest. Margaret has conducted internal investigations in numerous countries and has provided counsel to business leaders on how to remediate and resolve investigative findings.
Along with her dedication to the law, Margaret is also enthusiastic about teaching. As a result, she has developed and conducted trainings and seminars for business executives, employees, fellow lawyers, and law enforcement professionals on topics as diverse as conducting investigations; implementing ethics and compliance programs; FCPA compliance; the False Claims Act; anti-corruption; conflicts of interest; lobbying; campaign finance; criminal law and procedure; and ethically interacting with governments. As an adjunct professor, Margaret taught courses on business law and public speaking.
Active in her profession and in her community, Margaret is a member of the American Bar Association, the Washington DC Bar, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is the former Global Issues Forum Co- Chairperson for the Washington Metro Association of Corporate Counsel. Margaret serves on the boards of the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans and the Washington DC Area Lawyers for the Arts; and she is a volunteer attorney for the Washington DC Homeless Law Clinic.
Margaret received her undergraduate degree in Finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Upon her law school graduation, Margaret served as an appellate law clerk with the Ohio Court of Appeals.
Margaret is admitted to practice in Washington DC and Pennsylvania. She is also admitted to practice in Ohio and New York but is currently inactive in those states.
Margaret Cassidy presenting:
What’s the 411? : An Overview of Contracting with DC and Other Governments –Foreign, Federal, State, and Local Governments
This session covers an overview of the law behind government contracting which will enable businesses to both appreciate the requirements when developing business with a potential government client as well as the laws around performing a government contract. Attendees will learn about the unique requirements when contracting with governments including the False Claims Act, Conflicts of Interest, the Contracting Process, and Procurement Integrity. All PTAC clients and small businesses interested in doing business with state, local, federal and foreign governments should attend.
Where: District of Columbia Procurement Technical Assistance Center, 441 4th Street NW, Room 1114, Washington DC 20001
Facilitator: Margaret Cassidy, Cassidy Law PLLC
Cost: No cost
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Margaret Cassidy, principal, Cassidy Law has been selected to the DC Court of Appeals CJA Panel and the DC Superior Court CJA Panel.
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Please join Margaret Cassidy, Cassidy Law, John Cunningham, Baker & McKenzie and Linda Mitchell PwC for a presentation on:
Minimizing FCPA and Related Anti-Corruption Risks and Maximizing Key Compliance Safeguards
Third-Party Risk: Tailoring Contract Clauses, Covenants, and Certifications to Enhance Compliance in a Global Market
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
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Margaret Cassidy and John Cunningham, Partner, Baker McKenzie will be presenting a Strafford Publications Seminar:
Third-Party Risk: Tailoring Contract Clauses, Covenants, and Certifications to Enhance Compliance in a Global Market
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Summary of Seminar
As a result of the U.S. government's heightened enforcement of the FCPA and related laws and regulations, businesses are increasingly under pressure to manage the actions of their business partners. To this end, businesses are integrating ethics and compliance clauses into contracts with clients, joint venture partners, vendors, sales agents and other third parties. These clauses generally require business partners to make ethical decisions and to comply with relevant laws and regulations focusing on the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act, and other global anti-corruption laws and regulations.
The course will provide practical guidance for developing effective business ethics and compliance controls when contracting with various types of third parties. It will also cover how businesses can leverage ethics and compliance clauses and certifications to mitigate liability risks under global anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act. Finally, the course will identify the pitfalls of agreeing to ethics and compliance clauses in third-party agreements that are overly broad, ambiguous, or otherwise disproportionate to the engagement.
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Margaret Cassidy, along with John Davis, of Counsel Miller & Chevaliar, presenting Strafford Publications CLE:
FCPA Gifts, Entertainment and Hospitality: Surviving Heightened Enforcement
Understanding the Risks, Avoiding Common Pitfalls, and Strengthening Compliance Programs to Meet FCPA Requirements
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4th Government Contractors Summer Soiree Networking Event
Cassidy Law is a Silver Sponsor for the 4th Government Contractors Summer Soiree Networking Event at the Kennedy Center on July 29. The event provides government contractors an opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and form relationships to more effectively and profitably work with the government.
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University of Pittsburgh School of Law class reunion
Margaret Cassidy has been selected to be on the University of Pittsburgh School of Law class reunion committee that will work with Pitt Law to plan and organize the Pitt Law Class of 1993 20th Reunion.
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Managing Corporate Gift and Entertainment Expenses to Strengthen Your Anti-Corruption Program
Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Time: 8 am Pacific | 11 am Eastern
Duration: 1 hour
Organizations offering business hospitality, gifts and entertainment to build and enhance client relationships are now facing heightened scrutiny by local and international prosecutors and investigators for possible violations of anti-corruption laws. Ensuring compliance with these laws in order to avoid costly and damaging litigation is particularly challenging because of the vast number of laws an organization must follow. For multi-national companies looking to implement a compliant gifting program, building a standard and scalable system is challenging because of the language, cultural and legal diversity in global operations. For example, an organization operating internationally may need to comply with Chinese anti-corruption laws, the UK Bribery Act, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, World Bank policies as well as the anti-corruption, gift and ethics laws of the different U.S. states and cities.
Join Margaret Cassidy, Owner and Founder of Cassidy Law PLLC and Timothy Schmutzler, Regional VP of GRC Solutions at MetricStream for a complimentary webcast on considerations for building a robust and structured Gift, Entertainment and Hospitality program; improving compliance with applicable laws; and combating bribery and other corrupt practices. The session will cover the complexity of anti-corruption laws and how you can use technology to identify payment risks, establish controls and adopt a multi-level approval system.
Key highlights include:
• Appreciate why governments have been passing more anti-corruption laws and why enforcement of anti-corruption laws has increased
• Understand the variety of laws and regulations that impact your gift, entertainment and hospitality (GEH) program
• Choosing between ‘Manual and In-house point solutions’ vs. ‘GRC based GEH systems’
• Manage constraints in enterprise-wide GEH policy roll-outs
• Adopt best practices in policy creation, approval for gifting and preventing unethical or illegal behavior