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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 14, 2019

Title 47Chapter ISubchapter BPart 54Subpart A → §54.8


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 54—UNIVERSAL SERVICE
Subpart A—General Information


§54.8   Prohibition on participation: suspension and debarment.

(a) Definitions—(1) Activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. Such matters include the receipt of funds or discounted services through one or more of these support mechanisms, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding one or more of these support mechanisms.

(2) Civil liability. The disposition of a civil action by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether entered by verdict, decision, settlement with admission of liability, stipulation, or otherwise creating a civil liability for the wrongful acts complained of, or a final determination of liability under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1988 (31 U.S.C. 3801-12).

(3) Consultant. A person that for consideration advises or consults a person regarding the schools and libraries support mechanism, but who is not employed by the person receiving the advice or consultation.

(4) Conviction. A judgment or conviction of a criminal offense by any court of competent jurisdiction, whether entered by verdict or a plea, including a plea of nolo contendere.

(5) Debarment. Any action taken by the Commission in accordance with these regulations to exclude a person from activities associated with or relating to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. A person so excluded is “debarred.”

(6) Person. Any individual, group of individuals, corporation, partnership, association, unit of government or legal entity, however organized.

(7) Suspension. An action taken by the Commission in accordance with these regulations that immediately excludes a person from activities associated with or relating to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism for a temporary period, pending completion of the debarment proceedings. A person so excluded is “suspended.”

(b) Suspension and debarment in general. The Commission shall suspend and debar a person for any of the causes in paragraph (c) of this section using procedures established in this section, absent extraordinary circumstances.

(c) Causes for suspension and debarment. Causes for suspension and debarment are conviction of or civil judgment for attempt or commission of criminal fraud, theft, embezzlement, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, receiving stolen property, making false claims, obstruction of justice and other fraud or criminal offense arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism.

(d) Effect of suspension and debarment. Unless otherwise ordered, any persons suspended or debarred shall be excluded from activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism. Suspension and debarment of a person other than an individual constitutes suspension and debarment of all divisions and/or other organizational elements from participation in the program for the suspension and debarment period, unless the notice of suspension and proposed debarment is limited by its terms to one or more specifically identified individuals, divisions, or other organizational elements or to specific types of transactions.

(e) Procedures for suspension and debarment. The suspension and debarment process shall proceed as follows:

(1) Upon evidence that there exists cause for suspension and debarment, the Commission shall provide prompt notice of suspension and proposed debarment to the person. Suspension shall be effective upon the earlier of receipt of notification or publication in the Federal Register.

(2) The notice shall:

(i) Give the reasons for the proposed debarment in terms sufficient to put a person on notice of the conduct or transaction(s) upon which it is based and the cause relied upon, namely, the entry of a criminal conviction or civil judgment arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism;

(ii) Explain the applicable debarment procedures;

(iii) Describe the effect of debarment.

(3) A person subject to proposed debarment, or who has an existing contract with a person subject to proposed debarment or intends to contract with such a person to provide or receive services in matters arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism may contest debarment or the scope of the proposed debarment. A person contesting debarment or the scope of proposed debarment must file arguments and any relevant documentation within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register, whichever is earlier.

(4) A person subject to proposed debarment, or who has an existing contract with a person subject to proposed debarment or intends to contract with such a person to provide or receive services in matters arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support mechanism, the high-cost support mechanism, the rural health care support mechanism, and the low-income support mechanism may also contest suspension or the scope of suspension, but such action will not ordinarily be granted. A person contesting suspension or the scope of suspension must file arguments and any relevant documentation within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register, whichever is earlier.

(5) Within ninety (90) days of receipt of any information submitted by the respondent, the Commission, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, shall provide the respondent prompt notice of the decision to debar. Debarment shall be effective upon the earlier of receipt of notice or publication in the Federal Register.

(f) Reversal or limitation of suspension or debarment. The Commission may reverse a suspension or debarment, or limit the scope or period of suspension or debarment, upon a finding of extraordinary circumstances, after due consideration following the filing of a petition by an interested party or upon motion by the Commission. Reversal of the conviction or civil judgment upon which the suspension and debarment was based is an example of extraordinary circumstances.

(g) Time period for debarment. A debarred person shall be prohibited from involvement with the schools and libraries support mechanism for three (3) years from the date of debarment. The Commission may, if necessary to protect the public interest, set a longer period of debarment or extend the existing period of debarment. If multiple convictions or judgments have been rendered, the Commission shall determine based on the facts before it whether debarments shall run concurrently or consecutively.

[68 FR 36943, June 20, 2003. Redesignated and amended at 72 FR 54218, Sept. 24, 2007]

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