A global pandemic and economic disruption make effective deterrence, detection, and prosecution of cartels more important than ever. While COVID-19 is a novel virus, the United States has a long track record of consistent enforcement of the antitrust laws even in times of great crises. Today, the United States has and is using even more tools to address pressing public needs arising from COVID-19. Chief among those tools is the U.S. Department of Justice’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force. The Procurement Collusion Strike Force is designed as an inter-agency, virtual force multiplier that not only educates both buyers and sellers to deter antitrust crimes, but also uses traditional investigative tools and cutting-edge data analytics to detect and actively investigate allegations of criminal conduct.

By Chester C. Choi & Daniel W. Glad1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

A once-in-a-century pandemic sweeps across country. Televisions and news feeds are filled with stories of human suffering amid shortages of critical supplies. Medical professionals and first responders leap into action. The federal government responds with significant appropriations to provide personal protective equipment and medical supplies, as well as additional stimulus funds to address the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic. During a time of twin crises, does antitrust law matter? Government contractors and vendors may ask, will the government be closely scrutinizing the flood of contracts

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