Starting next month, the District of Columbia’s “pay-to-play” law will take effect.  Under the new law, the District government is prohibited from contracting with “covered contractors” which have contributed to “prohibited recipients” during the “prohibited period.”

A covered contractor is “any business entity, or a principal of a business entity, seeking or holding a contract or multiple contracts with the District government,” with an aggregate value of $250,000 or more.[1]  Prohibited recipients include certain officers, candidates, or political committees affiliated with covered entities, such as the Mayor or the Office of Attorney General.  These prohibitions can last from the date of the solicitation up until one year after the termination of the contract.

For example, a contractor planning to place a bid on a Mayor-commissioned contract valued over $250,000, should assure no contributions are made to the Mayor for up to a year following performance and completion of the contract.  The law is intended to ensure the integrity of the procurement process by prohibiting contributions to officials who have influence over contract awards. 

To promote compliance with the new law, DC contracting authorities will notify covered contractors of the prohibited recipients and require covered contractors to report their principals.  Violations of the new law may result in termination of a contract and/or disqualification of eligibility for future District contracts, “including the extension or modification of any existing contract,” for four years. This new law will not apply retroactively to contracts “sought, entered into, or executed before November 9, 2022.”  For more information, contractors should consult counsel or read the text of the law, which goes into effect the day after the 2022 District of Columbia Board of Elections.[2]

[1] D.C. Law 22-250 (emphasis added).  

[2] See,