Persistence Pays: GAO Sustains After Fourth Protest Due to Unreasonably Narrow Corrective Action

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.

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GAO Awards Costs After Agency Unduly Delays Corrective Action

GAO recently awarded the reasonable costs of filing and pursuing a protest to an agency’s evaluation and award decision, after finding that the agency unduly delayed corrective action in response to a clearly meritorious protest.

Let’s take a look.

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GAO: Proposal Evaluations Can’t Take Place in La La Land

Wouldn’t it be swell to simply erase those less-than-flattering moments from your past merely by deleting them? For instance, what if your biographer simply omitted any mention of you being excited for and seeing the apparently horrible new Cats movie?

Does erasing a historical fact–such as an unfavorable detail from a proposal–mean that it never happened?

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Miscalculation of Subcontracting Percentage Leads to Sustained Protest

Agencies and contractors must do their math right (even fractions) when evaluating proposals against solicitation terms, and GAO will call them on it if they don’t.

GAO recently sustained a protest where an agency improperly calculated a small business subcontracting percentage by including the prime contractor’s fee as part of the subcontracted costs when the fee shouldn’t have been included.

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GAO Sustains Protest Where Agency Failed to Reasonably Evaluate Past Performance

GAO defers to agencies on many issues related to their procurements. But GAO will intervene when an agency says one thing, in a solicitation, but does another when it evaluates proposals. In other words, GAO will sustain protests when the agencies disregard their own evaluation criteria outlined in a solicitation.

Otherwise, the agency might–even inadvertently–evaluate proposals unequally–a situation that a just and fair procurement system must avoid. 

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