The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws

Government Contracts

The Anti-Kickback Act of 1986

Compliance Partners

Associate Provost for Research
VP for Finance and Treasurer

Related Policies

Grants and Contracts Policy

41 U.S.C. §§ 8701 to 8707; 

48 CFR 3.502-2 et seq.

Prohibits any payment or gratuity made for the purpose of inducing award of a subcontract or prime contract with the federal government.



The Act—

(a) Prohibits any person from—

(1) Providing, attempting to provide, or offering to provide any kickback;

(2) Soliciting, accepting, or attempting to accept any kickbacks; or

(3) Including, directly or indirectly, the amount of any kickback in the contract price charged by a subcontractor to a prime contractor or a higher tier subcontractor or in the contract price charged by a prime contractor to the United States.

(b) Imposes criminal penalties on any person who knowingly and willfully engages in the prohibited conduct addressed in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

(c) Provides for the recovery of civil penalties by the United States from any person who knowingly engages in such prohibited conduct and from any person whose employee, subcontractor, or subcontractor employee provides, accepts, or charges a kickback.

(d) Provides that—

(1) The contracting officer may offset the amount of a kickback against monies owed by the United States to the prime contractor under the prime contract to which such kickback relates;

(2) The contracting officer may direct a prime contractor to withhold from any sums owed to a subcontract under a subcontractor of the prime contract the amount of any kickback which was or may be offset against the prime contractor under subparagraph (d)(1) of this subsection; and

(3) An offset under subparagraph (d)(1) or a direction under subparagraph (d)(2) of this subsection is a claim by the Government for the purposes of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978.

(e) Authorizes contracting officers to order that sums withheld under subparagraph (d)(2) of this subsection be paid to the contracting agency, or if the sum has already been offset against the prime contractor, that it be retained by the prime contractor.

(f) Requires the prime contractor to notify the contracting officer when the withholding under subparagraph (d)(2) of this subsection has been accomplished unless the amount withheld has been paid to the Government.

(g) Requires a prime contractor or subcontractor to report in writing to the inspector general of the contracting agency, the head of the contracting agency if the agency does not have an inspector general, or the Department of Justice any possible violation of the Act when the prime contractor or subcontractor has reasonable grounds to believe such violation may have occurred.

(h) Provides that, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there has been a violation of the Act with respect to any prime contract, the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general of the contracting agency, or a representative of such contracting agency designated by the head of such agency if the agency does not have an inspector general, shall have access to and may inspect the facilities and audit the books and records, including any electronic data or records, of any prime contractor or subcontractor under a prime contract awarded by such agency.

(i) Requires each contracting agency to include in each prime contract exceeding $150,000 for other than commercial items (see part 12), a requirement that the prime contractor shall—

(1) Have in place and follow reasonable procedures designed to prevent and detect violations of the Act in its own operations and direct business relationships (e.g., company ethics rules prohibiting kickbacks by employees, agents, or subcontractors; education programs for new employees and subcontractors, explaining policies about kickbacks, related company procedures and the consequences of detection; procurement procedures to minimize the opportunity for kickbacks; audit procedures designed to detect kickbacks; periodic surveys of subcontractors to elicit information about kickbacks; procedures to report kickbacks to law enforcement officials; annual declarations by employees of gifts or gratuities received from subcontractors; annual employee declarations that they have violated no company ethics rules; personnel practices that document unethical or illegal behavior and make such information available to prospective employers); and

(2) Cooperate fully with any Federal agency investigating a possible violation of the Act.

(from 48 CFR section 3.502-2)



ASU Anti-Kickback Guidelines

UC San Diego Anti-Kickback Policy


updated links 12/20/2017