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  • Question

    Aside from seeming duplicative, redundant and wasteful, is there a concern with or any potential legal implications if an internal agency office (non-contracting) establishes a practice of re-distributing contract award documents after the PCO has already officially distributed them?


    Answer

    FAR 4.201 and DFARS PGI 204.2 specify the MINIMUM recipients to whom the DoD contracting officer shall distribute copies of each contract and modification, but agencies can and often do add their own requirements to FAR and DFARS requirements. To minimize such additional requirements, FAR 4.202 states that "Agencies shall limit additional distribution REQUIREMENTS (emphasis added)  to the minimum necessary for proper performance of essential functions." I believe the "shall" here applies to the agency requirements, not to a contracting officer or other Government employee's actual distribution in a particular case. In other words, the limitation is on the additional minimum distributions an agency can REQUIRE contracting officers to make through agency regulations. You do not have to guess what such agency requirements are; look in your agency regulations. 
     
    Contracting officers, then, must at a MINIMUM distribute the copies required by the FAR and DFARS (citations above) plus any additional agency requirements, which must follow the "minimum necessary for proper performance of essential functions" limitation. And no doubt contracting officers and other Government personal should adopt the same spirit of "minimum necessary" in making initial and further distributions. However, I am not aware of any legal penalties or recourse for a Government office or entity making further document distributions that in a third party's judgment goes beyond the "minimum necessary." Of course, there may be other issues such as security restrictions that come into play which are outside the scope of this question, in which case you should discuss with appropriate counsel. 
     

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