GAO Holds that Protest Was Late Despite Post-Debriefing Questions

Some contractors mistakenly believe that debriefings or post-debriefing questions always extend the deadline for filing a protest with GAO. In some cases they do, but in others they don’t. In cases where they don’t, a protester must file its protest within 10 days of knowing the basis for its protest. Otherwise, GAO will dismiss the protest as untimely, without any regards to the protest’s merits.

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GAO Catch-22: A Protest is Both Too Late and Too Early

Over the years, we’ve written a fair number of blogs about how contractors have been either too early or too late to protest. What we haven’t blogged about is a situation where a contractor is premature and late. Unfortunately for one protester, GAO has recently confirmed that you can, indeed, be both too early and too late to protest.

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Protester Missed Its Chance to Protest Corrective Action Scope, Says GAO

As we’ve previously discussed 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.

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Short Procurement Deadline? GAO says it Doesn’t Impact Protest Timing Rules

As anyone in the federal contracting line of work knows, deadlines come at you fast and hard. In a recent GAO decision, GAO refused to relax the timeliness rules associated with protests of solicitation requirements, even where that left the contractor with very little time to protest.

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Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late: GAO Dismisses Claim of Agency Bias as Untimely

In Adams and Associates, Inc., B-417120 et al. (Comp. Gen. Jan. 16, 2019), GAO dismissed a post-award protest, which alleged agency bias and retaliation against the protester, as untimely.

The GAO’s decision highlights the uphill battle contractors face when alleging agency bias.

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Protest of Approved-Source Restriction Must Be Filed Before Proposal Deadline

I was grocery shopping the other day, and I had to make the tough choice between the name-brand cereal and the store-brand cereal. I don’t know about you, but with some products, the name brand has a certain flavor that the store brand just can’t replicate. When it comes to government contracts, the same is true–sometimes the government wants a certain brand or supplier and will accept no substitutes.

GAO recently held that, where an agency required quotations including parts from one approved source of supply, and an offer is submitted that proposes an “alternate product,” the agency can reasonably reject the bid–and that a protest of the approved source restriction itself is untimely if it isn’t filed before the proposal deadline.

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Protesting IDIQ Solicitation Ambiguities at the Task Order Level? Too Late, Says GAO

Patent ambiguities present in the solicitation for an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity procurement must be protested prior to the close of proposal submission for the base contract—waiting to protest at the task order level may be too late.

A recent GAO decision shows that when an IDIQ solicitation contains an obvious ambiguity, the rule is “speak now or forever hold your peace.” By the time task order competitions get rolling, the chance to protest will likely be gone.

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