GAO Final Rule: EPDS Filing System Will Be Live May 1

We’ve been following GAO’s plan to implement its Electronic Protest Docketing System (“EPDS”) with great interest. In fact, we’ve had the opportunity to test-drive the new system (tl/dr: it’s a very user-friendly system, but there are a couple of minor improvements that would make it even better).

Just yesterday, GAO released a final rule implementing EPDS. Here are the most important takeaways.

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Small Business GAO Bid Protests Are Less Successful, RAND Study Says

GAO bid protests filed by small businesses are (statistically speaking) less likely to succeed than protests filed by large contractors, according to the RAND Corporation’s recent bid protest study.

The disparity isn’t the result of discrimination against small businesses, but rather a product of other factors: primarily, the motivation to protest, the understanding of the protest system, and access to legal counsel.  RAND raises an important point, but offers no fair and easy solution.  Perhaps, given that protests overall are “exceedingly uncommon,” a solution isn’t needed–but it’s wise to think about whether there are ways to help small businesses become better educated about bid protests.

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“Deemed Withdrawal” of Agency-Level Protest Sinks Subsequent GAO Protest

Readers of this blog will know that the GAO interprets its protest timeliness rules quite strictly. A recent GAO case provides us with an opportunity to review a nuanced piece of those timeliness rules. Specifically, how withdrawal of an agency-level protest affects the deadline to file a GAO protest, and what counts as a withdrawal of an agency-level protest versus an “initial adverse agency action.”

In this case, the protester lost its GAO protest rights by trying to pursue its agency-level protest with an inspector general’s office rather than with the contracting officer.

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GAO Suspends Protester–Again–For “Abusive Litigation Practices”

The GAO has suspended a protester for “abusive litigation practices,” for the second time.

Last year, the GAO suspended Latvian Connection LLC from participating in the GAO bid protest process for one year, after the firm filed 150 protests in the course of a single fiscal year.  Now, citing “derogatory and abusive allegations,” among many other concerns, the GAO has re-imposed its suspension–this time, for two years.

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GAO: Exception To Protest Timeliness Rules Didn’t Apply To NASA SBIR Competition

This story is about a glider, a balloon, the planet Venus, and Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. This subject matter is the fabric of the universe, but the lesson it teaches is as mundane as linen sheets.

A NASA Small Business Innovation Research offeror cannot always wait for a debriefing to file a GAO bid protest, because if it does, it may run the risk of the protest grounds being untimely.

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150 Protests And Counting: GAO Suspends “Frequent Protester”

Citing an abuse of the protest process, the GAO has suspended a company’s right to file bid protests for a period of one year.

The GAO’s unusual action was taken after the contractor in question filed 150 bid protests in the ongoing fiscal year alone, most of which have been dismissed for technical reasons.  The GAO’s decision also cites “baseless accusations” made by the protester, including accusing GAO officials of being “white collar criminals” and asserting that “various federal officials have engaged in treason.”

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