Protecting sensitive business information, especially pricing, is essential even in the GAO bid protest realm. As an agency found out, even an inadvertent release of such information could lead to a sustained protest.
This slip up resulted in the cancellation of a nearly $1 billion contract. Needless to say, this was a big deal. How did this happen, and what should parties be looking for to protect their confidential data?
In 2020, the GAO Bid Protest effectiveness rate crossed the 50% threshold, higher than we’ve seen it in any recent year. Overall, cases filed went down a mere 2% year over year.
GAO issues its yearly report as a requirement under statute. Congress is particularly concerned with knowing 1) which federal agencies didn’t follow GAO’s recommendations in bid protests and 2) if GAO did not issue a decision in 100 days. As like most years, GAO was “pleased” to report that all agencies followed its recommendations, when given, and that it timely (within 100 days) decided all bid protests.
In its recent decision, Peraton, Inc., B-416916.8, et al. (Aug. 3, 2020), GAO ultimately sustained a protest that the Department of State’s corrective action was unreasonably limited—recommending the protester be reimbursed its protest costs in the process.
For more on how it reached this result, buckle up! Because it was a long road for the protester to reach the GAO sustain.
In any legal action, it’s critical to understand the standard that the tribunal applies to a claim. Until now, the Federal Circuit–an intermediate federal appeals court immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court–had not articulated the standard for disparate evaluation claims in bid protests. Though not groundbreaking, a recent case provides clarity for attorneys and litigants alike.
As we’ve previously discussed here at SmallGovCon, a substantial number of GAO bid protests are resolved through voluntary corrective action. While corrective action is typically a desirable outcome for a bid protest, it by no means affords a protester the opportunity to relax.
Indeed, as one offeror recently discovered, the failure to diligently protest the scope of a corrective action barred raising certain challenges later on.
Requests for reconsideration are rarely granted by GAO and reconsideration of cost claims is even more unique. But GAO recently granted one of these unicorns–recommending additional reimbursement of more than $20,000 to the protester.