The University of Iowa

Other Compliance Concerns

  1. Debarment and Suspension
  2. Drug-Free Workplace
  3. Lobbying
  4. Nondelinquency on Federal Debt
  5. Civil Rights
  6. Acknowledgement of Federal Funding
  7. Freedom of Information
  8. Privacy Act

a. Debarment and Suspension

The federal government-wide debarment and suspension system requires grant applicants to certify that, to the best of their knowledge and belief, they and their principals, including PIs and other key personnel:

  • Are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any Federal department or agency;
  • Have not, within the 3-year period preceding the application, been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against them for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (Federal, State, or local) transaction or contract under a public transaction, for violation of a Federal or State antitrust statute; for commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, or for making false statements or receiving stolen property;
  • Are not presently indicted or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State, or local) with commission of any of the offenses enumerated above; and
  • Have not, within a 3-year period preceding the application, had any public transaction (Federal, State, or local) terminated for cause or default.

If the applicant is unable to certify to these statements, it must, nonetheless, submit the certification and attach an explanation. The inability to certify does not automatically disqualify an organization from receiving an award; however, failure to submit the required certification or the necessary explanation will cause the agency not to make an award.

Subcontractors under grants (where the contract requires the provision of goods or services that will equal or exceed $100,000) and all consortium participants must certify that neither they nor their principals are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any Federal agency, and, if unable to certify, the grantee must attach an explanation to the application or provide the information to the federal funding agency prior to awarding the contract or entering into the agreement.

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b. Drug-Free Workplace

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-690, Title V, Subtitle D, as amended) requires that all grantees receiving grants from any Federal agency agree that they will maintain a drug-free workplace. By signing the application, the authorized institutional official agrees that the grantee will provide a drug-free workplace and will comply with requirements to notify the federal funding agency in the event that an employee is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute. Failure to comply with these requirements may be cause for debarment.

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c. Lobbying

Recipients of Federal grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and loans are prohibited by 31 U.S.C. 1352, Limitation on Use of Appropriated Funds to Influence Certain Federal Contracting and Financial Transactions, from using Federal (appropriated) funds to pay any person for influencing or attempting to influence any officer or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress with respect to the award, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any of these instruments.

Applicants for awards with total costs expected to exceed $100,000 are required to certify that they (a) have not made, and will not make, such a prohibited payment; (b) will be responsible for reporting the use of non-appropriated funds for such purposes; and (c) will include these requirements in consortium agreements and contracts under grants that will exceed $100,000 and obtain necessary certifications from those consortium participants and contractors. The signature of the authorized institutional official on the application serves as the required certification of compliance.

Federal appropriated funds may not be used to pay the salary or expenses of an employee of a grantee or contractor or those of an agent related to any activity designed to influence legislation or appropriations pending before Congress or any State legislature. This prohibition extends to the use of funds for publicity or propaganda purposes, including the preparation, distribution, or use of any kit, pamphlet, booklet, publication, radio, television, or video presentation designed to support or defeat legislation pending before Congress or a State legislature except in presentation to the Congress or State legislature itself or as part of normal, recognized legislative-executive relationships.

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d. Nondelinquency on Federal Debt

The Federal Debt Collection Procedure Act, 28 U.S.C. 3201(e), provides that an organization or individual that is indebted to the United States and has a judgment lien filed against it is ineligible to receive a Federal grant. Before a grant can be awarded, the applicant organization must certify that neither it nor any person to be paid from grant funds is delinquent in repaying any Federal debt. If the applicant discloses delinquency on a debt owed to the Federal Government, the federal funding agency may not award the grant until the debt is satisfied or satisfactory arrangements are made with the agency to which the debt is owed. In addition, once the debt is repaid or satisfactory arrangements made, the funding agency will still take that delinquency into account when determining whether the applicant would be responsible with respect to a grant, if awarded.

Anyone who has been judged to be in default on a Federal debt and who has had a judgment lien filed against him or her should not be listed as a participant in an application for grant support until the judgment is paid in full or is otherwise satisfied. No funds may be rebudgeted following an award to pay such an individual. The federal funding agency will disallow costs charged to awards that provide funds to individuals in violation of this Act.

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e. Civil Rights

Before a federal agency may make an award to any domestic applicant organization, the organization must affirm that it has an Assurance of Compliance, with the statutes described below, on file with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Assurance, Form HHS-690, is filed on an institutional basis and is not required for each application; however, the certification is required with each application. The University has on file a combined assurance, dated 10/1/93, certifying that the UI does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, handicaps, or age.

Relevant Statutes

  • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that no person in the U.S. shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 provides that no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, provides that no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of the handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. These requirements pertain to the provision of benefits or services as well as to employment.

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f. Acknowledgement of Federal Funding

All grantees must acknowledge Federal funding when issuing statements, press releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations, and other documents describing projects or programs funded in whole or in part with Federal money. Grantees are required to state (1) the percentage and dollar amounts of the total program or project costs financed with Federal money; and (2) the percentage and dollar amount of the total costs financed by nongovernmental sources.

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g. Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, requires federal funding agencies to release certain grant documents and records requested by members of the public, regardless of the intended use of the information. These policies and regulations apply to information in the possession of the federal agency and do not require grantees or contractors under grants to permit public access to their records. The regulations also indicate types of information that are generally exempt from release.

The following types of information/materials will generally be released in response to an FOIA request, whether the materials are maintained in paper or electronic format:  

  • Funded applications;
  • Pending and funded non-competing continuations;
  • Grant progress reports; and
  • Final reports of any audit, survey, review, or evaluation of grantee performance that have been transmitted to the grantee.

The following types of information/records will generally be withheld in response to an FOIA request:

  • Pending competing grant applications;
  • Unfunded new and competing continuations and competing supplemental applications;
  • Financial information regarding a person, such as salary information pertaining to project personnel;
  • Information pertaining to an individual, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
  • Predecisional opinions expressed by Government officers, employees, or consultants in inter- or intra-agency memoranda or letters;
  • Evaluative portions of site visit reports and peer review summary statements, including priority scores;
  • Trade secrets and commercial, financial, and otherwise intrinsically valuable items of information that are obtained from a person or organization and are privileged or confidential;
  • Information that, if released, would adversely affect the competitive position of the individual or organization; and
  • Patent or other valuable commercial rights of the individual or organization.

If the federal funding agency receives an FOIA request and has substantial reason to believe that information in its records could reasonably be considered exempt, the appropriate agency FOIA Officer will notify the grantee before the information is released, allowing the grantee an opportunity to identify potentially patentable or commercially valuable information that should not be disclosed. After agency consideration of the grantee's response, if any, the grantee will be informed of the agency's decision as to what documents will be released and to whom. If a document contains both disclosable and nondisclosable information, the nondisclosable information will be deleted by a designated agency FOIA Officer, and the balance of the document disclosed.

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h. Privacy Act

The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, provides certain safeguards for individual information maintained in a system of records when the Act deems such information identifiable (i.e.,, information may be retrieved by the individual's name or other identifying information). These safeguards include each individual's right to determine what information about them is maintained in Federal agency files, whether hard copy or electronic, and how it is used; to have access to such records; and to correct, amend, or request deletion of inaccurate, irrelevant, or outdated information in such records.

Records maintained by Federal Agencies with respect to grant applications, grant awards, and the administration of grants are subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act. In considering a request for information concerning an individual made by a party other than that individual, the Federal Agency must take into account both the requester's right to know under FOIA and the individual's right to privacy under the Privacy Act. If certain types of information, such as reviewer comments, are not automatically provided to individuals who have applied for Federal Financial Assistance, the Privacy Act should be cited when formally requesting this information from the agency.

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