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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of December 17, 2014

Title 36Chapter IIPart 223 → Subpart C


Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
PART 223—SALE AND DISPOSAL OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM TIMBER, SPECIAL FOREST PRODUCTS, AND FOREST BOTANICAL PRODUCTS


Subpart C—Suspension and Debarment of Timber Purchasers


Contents
§223.130   Scope.
§223.131   Applicability.
§223.132   Policy.
§223.133   Definitions.
§223.134   List of debarred and suspended purchasers.
§223.135   Effect of listing.
§223.136   Debarment.
§223.137   Causes for debarment.
§223.138   Procedures for debarment.
§223.139   Period of debarment.
§223.140   Scope of debarment.
§223.141   Suspension.
§223.142   Causes for suspension.
§223.143   Procedures for suspension.
§223.144   Period of suspension.
§223.145   Scope of suspension.

Source: 52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, unless otherwise noted.

§223.130   Scope.

(a) This subpart prescribes policies and procedures governing the debarment and suspension of purchasers of National Forest System timber. This subpart further prescribes policies and procedures governing those persons who violate the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.).

(b) It provides for the listing of debarred and suspended purchasers.

(c) It sets forth the causes and procedures for debarment and suspension and for determining the scope, duration, and treatment to be accorded to purchasers listed as debarred or suspended.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.131   Applicability.

These regulations apply to purchasers of National Forest System timber as well as to those persons who violate the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.). These regulations do not apply to Forest Service procurement contracts which are governed by regulations at 41 CFR 4-1.6.

[60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.132   Policy.

(a) The Forest Service shall solicit and consider timber sale bids from and award contracts only to responsible business concerns and individuals. Debarment and suspension by the Forest Service are discretionary actions that, taken in accordance with these regulations, are appropriate means to effectuate this policy.

(b) Debarment and suspension shall be imposed only for the causes and in accordance with the procedures set forth in this subpart. The serious nature of debarment and suspension requires that these actions be imposed only in the public interest, for the Government's protection, and not for the purpose of punishment.

(c) Debarment and suspension actions taken under this subpart shall be based on the administrative record, including any submissions and argument made by the purchaser or named affiliate in accordance with this subpart, and shall be limited in scope and duration to that necessary to protect the Government's interest.

§223.133   Definitions.

As used in this subpart, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:

Adequate evidence means information sufficient to support the reasonable belief that a particular act or omission has occurred.

Affiliates are business concerns or persons, whose relationship entails the following:

(a) Either party directly or indirectly controls or has the power to control the other; or

(b) A third party directly or indirectly controls or has the power to control both. In determining whether affiliation exists, the Forest Service shall consider all appropriate factors, including, but not limited to, common ownership, common management, common facilities, and contractual relationships. Further guidelines to be used in determining affiliation are found in the Small Business Administration regulation in 13 CFR 121.401.

Civil judgment means a judgment or finding of a civil offense by any court of competent jurisdiction.

Control means the power to exercise, directly or indirectly, a controlling influence over the management, policies, or activities of an individual or business concern, whether through ownership of voting securities, through one or more intermediary individuals or business concerns, or otherwise.

Conviction means a judgment or conviction of a criminal offense by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether entered upon a verdict or a plea, and includes a conviction entered upon a plea of nolo contendere.

Debarment means action taken by a debarring official under §§223.136 through 223.140 to exclude a purchaser from Forest Service timber sale contracts for a reasonable, specified period of time. A purchaser so excluded is “debarred.” Debarment pursuant to the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq. means action taken by a debarring official under §§223.136-223.140 to exclude persons from entering into any contract for the purchase of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands and from taking delivery of unprocessed Federal timber purchased by another party for the period of debarment.

Debarring official means the Chief of the Forest Service or the Deputy Chief, National Forest System, or the Associate Deputy Chief, Resources Divisions, National Forest System.

Federal lands means, for the purposes of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.), lands that are owned by the United States, but does not include any lands the title to which is:

(a) Held in trust by the United States for the benefit of any Indian tribe or individual,

(b) Held by any Indian tribe or individual subject to a restriction by the United States against alienation, or

(c) Held by any Native Corporation as defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1602).

Indictment means indictment for a criminal offense. An information or other filing by competent authority charging a criminal offense shall be given the same effect as an indictment.

Legal proceedings means any civil judicial proceeding to which the Government is a party or any criminal proceeding. The term includes appeals from such proceedings.

Notice means a written communication served in person or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or its equivalent, to the last known address of a party, its identified counsel, or agent for service of process. In the case of an organization, such notice may be sent to any partner, principal officer, director, owner or co-owner, or joint venturer.

Person means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and includes any subsidiary, subcontractor, parent company, and business affiliates.

Preponderance of the evidence means proof by information that, compared with that opposing it, leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

Purchaser means any person, who:

(a) Submits bids for, is awarded, or reasonably may be expected to submit bids for or be awarded, a Forest Service timber sale contract;

(b) Conducts business with the Forest Service as an agent or representative of another timber sale purchaser; or

(c) For the purposes of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.) (Act), any person who violates the Act or any regulation or contract issued under the Act, or any person who may reasonably be expected to enter into a contract to purchase or receive delivery of unprocessed Federal timber in violation of the Act or its implementing regulations.

Suspending official means the Chief of the Forest Service or the Deputy Chief, National Forest System or the Associate Deputy Chief, Resources Divisions, National Forest System.

Suspension means action taken by a suspending official under §§223.141 through 223.145 to immediately exclude a purchaser from bidding on or purchasing National Forest System timber for a temporary period of time pending completion of an investigation and such legal or debarment proceedings as may ensue; a purchaser so excluded is suspended.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.134   List of debarred and suspended purchasers.

(a) The Deputy Chief, National Forest System, shall compile and maintain a current list of National Forest System timber purchasers and affiliates who are debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment. This list shall be distributed to all Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors, the General Services Administration, the General Accounting Office, the Bureau of Land Management and other Federal agencies requesting said list.

(b) The Forest Service list shall contain the following information:

(1) The purchaser's name and address, and the name and address of any affiliate of the purchaser included pursuant to §§223.140(a) or §223.145.

(2) The cause(s) for the action (see §§223.137 and 223.142).

(3) Any limitations to or deviations from the normal effect of debarment or suspension.

(4) The effective date of the action and, in the case of debarment, the expiration date.

(5) The name and telephone number of the point of contact in the Forest Service regarding the action.

§223.135   Effect of listing.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, purchasers debarred or suspended in accordance with this subpart shall be excluded from bidding on or award of Forest Service timber sale contracts. The Forest Service shall not knowingly solicit or consider bids from, award contracts to, approve a third party agreement with, or renew or otherwise extend, except pursuant to the terms of a contract term adjustment, an existing timber sale contract with these purchasers, unless the Chief of the Forest Service or authorized representative determines, in writing, that there is a compelling reason for such action.

(b) In addition to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, persons debarred pursuant to §223.137(g) shall be prohibited from entering into any contract to purchase unprocessed timber from Federal lands and shall also be precluded from taking delivery of Federal timber purchased by another person for the period of debarment.

[60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.136   Debarment.

(a) General. In accordance with the procedures in §223.138, the debarring official may in the public interest, debar a purchaser for any of the causes listed in §223.137. However, the existence of a cause for debarment does not necessarily require that the purchaser be debarred. In making any debarment decision, the debarring official shall consider the seriousness of the purchaser's acts or omissions and any mitigating factors.

(b) Effect of proposed debarment. (1) Upon issuance of a notice of proposed debarment by the debarring official and until the final debarment decision is rendered, the Forest Service shall not solicit or consider bids from, award contracts to, approve a third party agreement with, renew or otherwise extend, except pursuant to the terms of a contract term adjustment, any contract with that purchaser. The Chief of the Forest Service or authorized representative may waive this exclusion upon a written determination identifying compelling reasons to continue doing business with that purchaser pending completion of debarment proceedings.

(2) In addition to paragraph (b)(1) of this section, issuance of a notice of proposed debarment under §223.137(g) shall preclude such person from entering into any contract to purchase unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands, and from taking delivery of unprocessed Federal timber from any other party who purchased such timber.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.137   Causes for debarment.

The debarring official may debar a purchaser for any of the following causes:

(a) Conviction of or civil judgment for:

(1) Theft, forgery, bribery, embezzlement, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property;

(2) Fraud, a criminal offense, or violation of Federal or State antitrust laws, any of which occurred in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public contract or subcontract.

(3) Any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty that seriously and directly affects the present responsibility of the purchaser.

(b) A purchaser's debarment from the purchase of timber by another Federal agency which sells timber.

(c) Cutting and/or removal of more than incidental volumes of timber not designated for the purchaser's cutting from a national forest.

(d) Substantial violation of the terms of one or more Forest Service timber sale contracts so serious as to justify debarment, such as:

(1) Willful failure to perform in accordance with contract; or

(2) A history of failure to perform contract terms; or of unsatisfactory performance of contract terms.

(e) Among actions the Forest Service regards as so serious as to justify debarment under paragraph (d) of this section are willful violation or repeated failure to perform National Forest System timber sale contract provisions relating to the following:

(1) Fire suppression, fire prevention, and the disposal of slash;

(2) Protection of soil, water, wildlife, range, cultural, and timber resources and protection of improvements when such failure causes significant environmental, resource, or improvements damage;

(3) Removal of designated timber when such failure causes substantial product deterioration or conditions favorable to insect epidemics;

(4) Observance of restrictions on exportation of timber;

(5) Observance of restrictions on the disposal of timber from small business set-aside sales;

(6) Providing access to the Forest Service upon its request to purchaser's books and accounts;

(7) Payment of monies due under terms of a Forest Service timber sale contract, including payment of damages relating to failure to cut designated timber by the contract termination date;

(8) Performance of contract by the contract termination date.

(f) Any other cause so serious or compelling that if affects the present responsibility of a purchaser of Government timber.

(g) Violation of the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 620, et seq.) (Act) or any regulation or contract issued under the Act.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.138   Procedures for debarment.

(a) Investigation and referral. Information which may be sufficient cause for debarment of a timber sale purchaser and affiliates shall be reported to the Forest Service Debarring Official. Generally, such information should be referred through the Forest Supervisor and the Regional Forester. The referral shall be accompanied by a complete statement of the facts supported by appropriate exhibits and a recommendation for action. Where the statement of facts indicates a possible criminal offense, except possible antitrust violations, the debarring official shall notify the Office of Inspector General, USDA. Where the statement of facts indicates a possible antitrust violation, the debarring official shall notify the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice.

(b) Decisionmaking process—(1) Notice of proposal to debar. The debarring official shall initiate debarment by advising the purchaser and any specifically named affiliate, by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice document shall include the following information:

(i) That debarment is being considered.

(ii) The reasons for the proposed debarment in terms sufficient to put the recipient on notice of the conduct or transaction(s) upon which it is based.

(iii) The cause(s) relied upon under §223.137 for proposing debarment.

(iv) The specific procedures governing debarment decisionmaking in §223.138 (b)(1) through (b)(8).

(v) The effect of the issuance of the notice of proposed debarment pending a final debarment decision (see §223.136(b)).

(vi) The potential effect of a debarment.

(2) Submission in opposition. Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the notice of proposed debarment, the respondent my submit, in person, in writing, or through a representative, information and argument in opposition to and/or in mitigation of the proposed debarment, including any additional specific information that raises a genuine dispute over the material facts.

(3) Informal hearing. Pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a respondent may request an informal hearing with the debarring official. The informal hearing shall be held within 20 calendar days from the date the request is received. The debarring official may postpone the date of the hearing if the respondent requests a postponement in writing. At the hearing, the respondent, appearing personally or through an attorney or other authorized representative, may informally present and explain evidence that causes for debarment do not exist, evidence of any mitigating factors, and arguments concerning the imposition, scope, duration or effects of proposed debarment or debarment. A transcript of the informal hearing shall not be required.

(4) Additional proceedings as to disputed material facts. In actions not based upon a conviction or civil judgment, if the debarring official finds that and gives notice that the submission in opposition raises a genuine dispute over facts material to the proposed debarment, respondent(s) may request a fact-finding conference on those disputed material facts. Such a conference shall be held within 20 calendar days from the date the request is received unless mutually agreed otherwise. The fact-finding conference shall conform with the following requirements:

(i) At least 10 days before the fact-finding conference, the debarring official shall send the respondent a copy of all documents in the administrative record as of the date of transmittal and not objected to by the Department of Justice.

(ii) At the conference, the respondent shall have the opportunity to appear with counsel, submit documentary evidence, present witnesses, and confront any person the Forest Service presents.

(iii) A transcribed record of any additional proceedings shall be made available at cost to the respondent upon request, unless the respondent and the Forest Service, by mutual agreement, waive the requirement for a transcript.

(5) Debarring official's decision—(i) No additional proceedings necessary. In actions based upon a conviction or civil judgement or in which there is no genuine dispute over material facts, the debarring official shall make a decision on the basis of all the information in the administrative record, including any submission made by the purchaser or any specifically named affiliate. The decision shall be made within 30 working days after receipt of any information and argument submitted, unless the debarring official extends this period for good cause.

(ii) Additional proceedings necessary. (A) In actions in which additional proceedings are necessary to determine disputed material facts, the debarring official shall promptly prepare written findings of fact. The debarring official shall base the decision on the facts as found, together with any information and argument submitted by the purchaser or any specifically named affiliate and any other information in the administrative record.

(B) The debarring official may refer matters involving disputed material facts to another official for findings of fact. The debarring official may reject any such findings, in whole or in part, only after specifically determining them to be arbitrary and capricious or clearly erroneous.

(C) The debarring official's decision shall be made after the conclusion of the proceedings with respect to disputed facts.

(6) Standard of evidence. In any action in which the proposed debarment is not based upon a conviction or civil judgment, the cause for debarment must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. In any action in which the proposed debarment is based upon a conviction or civil judgment, the standard shall be deemed to have been met.

(7) Notice of debarring official's decision. (i) The purchaser and any affiliates involved shall be given prompt notice of the debarring official's decision by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the debarring official decides to impose debarment, the notice shall:

(A)  Refer to the notice of proposed debarment:

(B)  Specify the reasons for debarment;

(C) State the period of debarment, including effective dates (see §223.139); and

(D) Specify any limitations on the terms of the debarment.

(ii)  The debarring official shall also promptly notify Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors of the decision.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 72 FR 31438, June 7, 2007]

§223.139   Period of debarment.

(a) Debarment shall be for a period commensurate with the seriousness of the cause(s):

(1) The debarring official shall consider any suspension period or period since issuance of the notice of proposed debarment in determining the debarment period.

(2) Generally, a debarment for those causes listed at §223.137 (a)-(f) of this subpart should not exceed three (3) years, except as otherwise provided by law.

(3) A debarment for the causes listed at §223.137(g) shall not exceed five (5) years.

(b) The debarring official may extend the debarment for those causes listed at §223.137 (a)-(f) of this subpart for an additional period if that official determines that an extension is necessary to protect the Government's interest. However:

(1) A debarment may not be extended solely on the basis of the facts and circumstances upon which the initial debarment action was based;

(2) If debarment for an additional period is necessary, the debarring official shall initiate and follow the procedures in §223.138 to extend the debarment.

(c) The debarring official may consider terminating the debarment or reducing the period or extent of debarment, upon the purchaser's request, supported by documentation, for reasons such as:

(1) Newly discovered material evidence;

(2) Reversal of the conviction or judgment upon which the debarment was based;

(3) Bona fide change in ownership or management;

(4) Elimination of other causes for which the debarment was imposed; or

(5) Other reasons the debarring official deems appropriate.

(d) The debarring official shall make final disposition of a reconsideration request under paragraph (c) of this section in writing within 30 working days of receipt of the reconsideration request and supporting documentation, unless the debarring official extends this period for good cause. The notice of the decision shall set forth the reasons for granting or denying the request.

[52 FR 43329, Nov. 12, 1987, as amended at 60 FR 46921, Sept. 8, 1995]

§223.140   Scope of debarment.

(a) Scope in general. (1) Debarment of a purchaser constitutes debarment of all divisions or other organizational elements of the purchaser, unless the debarment decision is limited by its terms to specific divisions, organizational elements, or classes of sales.

(2) The debarring official may extend a debarment decision to include any affiliates of the purchaser, if they are—

(i) Specifically named and

(ii) Given written notice of the proposed debarment and provided an opportunity to respond (see §223.138(b)).

(b) Imputing conduct. For purposes of determining the scope of debarment, conduct may be imputed as follows:

(1) The fraudulent, criminal, or other seriously improper conduct of any officer, director, shareholder, partner, employee, or other individual associated with a purchaser may be imputed to a purchaser when the conduct occurred in connection with the individual's performance of duties for or on behalf of the purchaser, or with the purchaser's knowledge, approval, or acquiescence. The purchaser's acceptance of the benefits derived from the conduct shall be evidence of such knowledge, approval, or acquiescence.

(2) The fraudulent, criminal, or other seriously improper conduct of a purchaser may be imputed to any officer, director, shareholder, partner, employee, or other individual associated with the purchaser who participated in, knew of, or has reason to know of the purchaser's conduct.

(3) The fraudulent, criminal, or other seriously improper conduct of one purchaser participating in a joint venture or similar arrangement may be imputed to other participating purchasers if the conduct occurred for or on behalf of the joint venture or similar arrangement or with the knowledge, approval, or acquiescence of those purchasers. Acceptance of the benefits derived from the conduct shall be evidence of such knowledge, approval or acquiescence.

§223.141   Suspension.

(a) The suspending official may, in the public interest, suspend a purchaser on the basis of adequate evidence for any of the causes in §223.142, using the procedures in §223.143. However, the existence of a cause for suspension does not necessarily require that the purchaser be suspended. In making any suspension decision, the suspending official shall consider the seriousness of the purchaser's acts or omissions and any mitigating factors.

(b) Suspension is a serious action to be imposed, pending the completion of investigation or legal proceedings, when it has been determined that immediate action is necessary to protect the Government's interest. In assessing the adequacy of the evidence, consideration shall be given to how much information is available, how credible it is given the circumstances, whether or not important allegations are corroborated and what inferences can reasonably be drawn as a result. This assessment shall include an examination of basic documents such as contracts, bids, awards, inspection reports, and correspondence, as appropriate.

§223.142   Causes for suspension.

(a) The suspending official may suspend a purchaser suspected, upon adequate evidence, of the following:

(1) Commission of:

(i) Theft, forgery, bribery, embezzlement, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property;

(ii) Fraud, a criminal offense, or violation of Federal or State antitrust laws, any of which occurred in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain; or performing a public contract or subcontract; or

(iii) Any other offense indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects the present responsibility of a purchase of Government timber.

(2) Indictment for any of the causes listed in paragraph (a) of this section constitutes adequate evidence for suspension.

(3) A purchaser's suspension from the purchaser of timber by another Federal agency which sells timber.

(b) The suspending official may, upon adequate evidence, also suspend a purchaser for any other cause so serious or compelling that it affects the present responsibility or a purchaser of Government timber.

§223.143   Procedures for suspension.

(a) Investigation and referral. Information which may be sufficient cause for suspension under §223.142 shall be reported to the Forest Service Suspending Official. Generally, such information should be referred through the Forest Supervisor and the Regional Forester. The referral shall be accompanied by a complete statement of the facts supported by appropriate exhibits and a recommendation for action. Where the statement of facts indicates a possible criminal offense, except possible antitrust violations, the suspending official shall notify the Office of Inspector General, USDA. Where the statement of facts indicates a possible antitrust violation, the suspending official shall notify the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice.

(b) Decisionmaking process—(1) Notice of suspension. When a purchaser and any specifically named affiliates are suspended, the suspending official shall so advise the purchaser and any specifically named affiliate immediately by certified mail, return receipt requested. Such notice shall specify:

(i) That they have been suspended as of the date of the notice;

(ii) That the suspension is based on an indictment or other adequate evidence that the purchaser has committed irregularities,

(A) Of a serious nature in business dealings with the Government, or

(B) Seriously reflecting on the propriety of further Government dealings with the recipient;

(iii) Any such irregularities shall be described in terms sufficient to place the recipient on notice without disclosing the Government's evidence;

(iv) That the suspension is for a temporary period of time pending the completion of an investigation and such legal proceedings as may ensue;

(v) The cause(s) relied upon under §223.142 for imposing suspension;

(vi) The effect of the suspension (see §223.135);

(vii) The specific procedures governing suspension decisionmaking in §223.143 (b)(1) through (b)(6).

(2) Submission in opposition. Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the notice of suspension, the purchaser or any specifically named affiliate may submit, in person, in writing, or through a representative, information and argument in opposition to the suspension, including any additional specific information that raises a genuine dispute over material facts.

(3) Informal hearing. Pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section, respondent may request an informal hearing with the suspending official. The informal hearing shall be held within 20 calendar days from the date the request is received. The suspending official may postpone the date of the hearing if the respondent requests a postponement in writing. At the hearing, the respondent, appearing personally or through an attorney or other authorized representative, may informally present and explain evidence that causes for suspension do not exist, evidence of any mitigating factors, and arguments concerning the imposition, scope, duration or effects of suspension. A transcript of the informal hearing shall not be required.

(4) Additional proceedings as to disputed material facts. (i) If the suspending official finds that there exists a genuine dispute over facts material to the suspension, respondent(s) shall be afforded an opportunity to appear with counsel, submit documentary evidence, present witnesses, and confront any person the Forest Service presents, unless—

(A) The action is based on an indictment; or

(B) A determination is made, on the basis of Department of Justice advice, that the substantial interests of the Government in pending or contemplated legal proceedings based on the same facts as the suspension would be prejudiced.

(ii) If appropriate, the respondent may request a fact-finding conference on disputed material facts. Such a conference shall be held within 20 calendar days from the date the request is received unless mutually agreed otherwise. The fact-finding conference shall conform with the following requirements:

(A) At least 10 days before the fact-finding conference, the suspending official shall send the respondent a copy of all documents in the administrative record as of the date of transmittal and not objected to by the Department of Justice.

(B) At the conference, the respondent shall have the opportunity to appear with counsel, submit documentary evidence, present witnesses, and confront any person the Forest Service presents.

(iii) A transcribed record of any additional proceedings shall be prepared and made available at cost to the respondent upon request, unless the respondent and the Forest Service, by mutual agreement, waive the requirement for a transcript.

(5) Suspending official's decision. The suspending official may modify or terminate the suspension or leave it in force for the same reasons as for terminating or reducing the period or extent of debarment (see §223.139(c)). The decision shall be made in accordance with the following provisions:

(i) No additional proceedings necessary. In actions based on an indictment, in which the respondent's submission does not raise a genuine dispute over material facts; or in which additional proceedings to determine disputed material facts have been denied on the basis of Department of Justice advice, the suspending official's decision shall be based on all the information in the administrative record, including any submissions and argument made by the respondent. The decision shall be made within 30 working days after receipt of any information and argument submitted by the respondent, unless the suspending official extends this period for good cause.

(ii) Additional proceedings necessary. (A) In actions in which additional proceedings are necessary as to disputed material facts, written findings of fact shall be promptly prepared. The suspending official shall base the decision on the facts as found, together with any information and argument submitted by the respondent and any other information in the administrative record.

(B) The suspending official may refer matters involving disputed material facts to another official for findings of fact. The suspending official may reject any such findings, in whole or in part, only after specifically determining them to be arbitrary and capricious or clearly erroneous.

(C) The suspending official's decision shall be made only after the conclusion of any proceedings with respect to disputed facts.

(6) Notice of suspending official's decision. The purchaser and any affiliates involved shall be given prompt written notice of the suspending officer's decision to continue or not continue the suspension by certified mail, return receipt requested.

§223.144   Period of suspension.

(a) Suspension shall be for a temporary period pending the completion of investigation and any ensuing legal proceedings unless sooner terminated by the suspending official or as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) If legal proceedings are not initiated within 12 months after the date of the suspension notice, the suspension shall be terminated unless an Assistant Attorney General requests its extension, in which case it may be extended for an additional 6 months. In no event may a suspension extend beyond 18 months, unless legal proceedings have been initiated within that period.

(c) The suspending official shall notify the Department of Justice of the proposed termination of any suspension, at least 30 days before the 12-month period expires, to give the Department an opportunity to request an extension.

§223.145   Scope of suspension.

The scope of suspension shall be the same as that for debarment (see §223.140), except that the procedures in §223.143 shall be used in imposing suspension.



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