JD Supra: What GAO Protests and a Can of Pringles Have in Common

“When I was a kid, Nickelodeon’s after-school line up was always interrupted by a steady parade of ads for various junk foods. In the cacophony of flashy packaging and branding, one slogan stood a cut above the rest: ‘Once you pop, the fun don’t stop!’… 

I still find myself thinking about the Pringles slogan, albeit for very different reasons. When it comes to bid protests, once you file with the Government Accountability Office (‘GAO’), you are committed to seeing the process through to the end. In short, once you…erm…file, the fun can’t stop!… 

Bid protests at GAO follow a typical cadence. The process starts with a contractor filing a protest. Thirty days later, plus or minus the occasional weekend, the agency will produce relevant documents, as well as a legal response to the protest. This is referred to as the agency report. After receiving the agency report, the protester will have 10 days to provide comments, which although sounding like a YouTube message board is actually an extensive written response to the agency’s position. GAO will then issue a decision on the merits of the protest… 

Failure to timely submit Comments usually proves fatal for a protest. GAO’s decision in Monbo Group International—Recon., B-420387.2 (May 17, 2022), proves this point. Mombo Group protested the terms of a Defense Health Agency solicitation. After being served with the Agency Report, Monbo Group was on the clock to draft and file Comments. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. GAO summarized the issue as follows: 

[B]ecause the agency submitted its agency report on January 3, Monbo was required to file its comments before the close of business on January 13. The protester missed that deadline, and filed later in the evening (9:11 p.m.) on January 13. Our regulations provide that a document is filed on a particular day when it is received by 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on that day. Since Monbo’s comments were filed after 5:30 p.m., they were deemed to be filed on January 14, and our Office dismissed the protest…” Read the full article here. 

Source: What GAO Protests and a Can of Pringles Have in Common – By Ian Patterson, May 20, 2022. JD Supra. 

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