June 06, 2005 | Northern Virginia Technology Council B2G Committee Legal Update

GAO Affirms Strict Ten-Day Window in Sole-Source Protests

1 min

Recently, in deciding a bid protest, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirmed and perhaps extended what it described as the GAO’s “strict rules for the timely submission of protests,” particularly with regard to sole-source awards.

In VSE Corporation, B-290452.3, et al., May 23, 2005, the agency argued that a “FedBizOpps announcement, which invited no responses from potential sources, provided constructive notice of the proposed sole-source bridge contract [to the awardee] such that the protesters were required to protest this proposed action within 10 days of publication.”  The GAO agreed, and determined that, because one of the protesters in that case had filed its protest more than ten days after the FedBizOpps notice, the protest should be dismissed as untimely. 

The decision appears to affirm, if not extent, the prior line of GAO decisions that have strictly construed the ten-day time frame, which, under 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(2) (2005), requires that post-award protests “be filed not later than 10 days after the basis of protest is known or should have been known (whichever is earlier).”

These rulings reinforce the need for protesters—and potential protesters—to consider as soon as possible whether to file a protest and/or seek legal counsel.