If you work in construction or another industry where you bid on public contracts, the price you charge will directly impact the likelihood of the government hiring you to do certain work. Your reputation and work history matter, but often not as much as the bottom line. Lower bids often mean more work but with a much thinner profit margin. Some companies even make bids where they might take a loss in the hope of securing more government work in the future.
If you want to avoid driving down your prices, you might discuss an upcoming government project with some of your local competitors. You could agree not to bid below a certain amount or agree for one party to intentionally overbid the price. Unfortunately, your attempt to protect your profit margin could actually constitute a form of public corruption.
Bid-rigging runs afoul of federal law
Public corruption comes in many forms. To most people, the term likely conjures images of elected officials misusing their office or maybe police officers accepting bribes. However, private businesses can engage in public corruption if they do work for government entities.
Two or more companies or contractors creating a plan to manipulate the bidding process on a government project could protect their own profit margins while potentially costing the public more money. What seems like a savvy business move might actually lead to criminal allegations and difficulty for your business if it wants to secure government contracts in the future.
Understanding that bid rigging is a form of public corruption could help you avoid or respond to allegations of a serious federal offense.