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§1789.161 Conflicts of interest.
The standard for determining organizational conflicts of interest shall be as set forth in the FAR subpart 9.5 (48 CFR part 9, subpart 9.5); however, the identification of the existence of an organizational conflict of interest may be made by either the Administrator or the cognizant Contracting Officer. In the event an organizational conflict of interest is determined to exist, the cognizant Contracting Officer shall take the actions prescribed at FAR 9.504 (48 CFR 9.504) to attempt to avoid, neutralize or mitigate the conflict. Should these actions be deemed by the Administrator and the Contracting Officer to adequately resolve the conflict, the contracting action with the offeror/contractor may proceed. Should the Administrator or the Contracting Officer determine that an organizational conflict of interest still exists such that contract award or other contracting action cannot be taken (award of task/delivery order, etc.) the offeror/contractor shall be so informed by the Contracting Officer and be provided a reasonable opportunity to respond in accordance with FAR 9.504(e) (48 CFR 9.504(e)). After considering the contractor's response, if it is found by both the Administrator and Contracting Officer to remedy the conflict of interest, the contracting action may proceed. If the Administrator and Contracting Officer determine that the contractor's response does not resolve the conflict of interest, yet continuing with the contracting action with the offeror/contractor in question is considered in the best interest of the United States, a waiver in accordance with FAR 9.503 (48 CFR 9.503) may be executed. This waiver shall be submitted under the Contracting Officer's signature and approved by the Administrator. The Administrator has been delegated Head of Contracting Activity authority by the USDA Senior Procurement Executive solely for the purpose of waiver approval.