B-198021(1),L/M, APR 24, 1980

B-198021(1),L/M: Apr 24, 1980

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INC.: WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 26. THIS SOLICITATION WAS THE SECOND STEP IN A TWO-STEP FORMALLY ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT. YOU STATE THAT BOTH BIDS WERE STAMPED AS CONTAINING PROPRIETARY DATA. YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT THE BIDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DECLARED NONRESPONSIVE "BECAUSE OF THE INABILITY OF THE PUBLIC TO DETERMINE *** THE RESPONSIVENESS OF THE ITEMS PROPOSED AND THE PRICES OF THE ITEMS PROPOSED.". WHETHER A PARTY IS SUFFICIENTLY "INTERESTED" IN THE PROCUREMENT TO HAVE US CONSIDER THE MATTER DEPENDS ON ITS STATUS IN RELATION TO THE PROCUREMENT. A MEMBER OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC WITH NO DIFFERENT INTEREST THAN ANY OTHER MEMBER IS NOT AN INTERESTED PARTY. SINCE YOU HAVE REQUESTED THAT WE DECLARE BOTH BIDS NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE OF THE INABILITY OF THE PUBLIC TO DETERMINE THE RESPONSIVENESS AND PRICES OF THE BIDS.

B-198021(1),L/M, APR 24, 1980

OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

TERRY D. MILLER, GOVERNMENT SALES CONSULTANTS, INC.:

WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 26, 1980, CONCERNING BIDS SUBMITTED BY HONEYWELL AND UNIVAC UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. DOT-FR- 936306. THIS SOLICITATION WAS THE SECOND STEP IN A TWO-STEP FORMALLY ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT. YOU STATE THAT BOTH BIDS WERE STAMPED AS CONTAINING PROPRIETARY DATA, AND YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT THE BIDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DECLARED NONRESPONSIVE "BECAUSE OF THE INABILITY OF THE PUBLIC TO DETERMINE *** THE RESPONSIVENESS OF THE ITEMS PROPOSED AND THE PRICES OF THE ITEMS PROPOSED." YOU REQUEST OUR "WRITTEN OPINION" ON THE MATTER.

OUR OFFICE ISSUES DECISIONS ON ISSUES SUCH AS THIS IN RESPONSE TO BID PROTESTS, TIMELY FILED, BY "INTERESTED PARTIES" (WITHIN THE MEANING OF OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES) AND IN RESPONSE TO REQUESTS FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE TO REQUEST ADVANCE DECISIONS.

WHETHER A PARTY IS SUFFICIENTLY "INTERESTED" IN THE PROCUREMENT TO HAVE US CONSIDER THE MATTER DEPENDS ON ITS STATUS IN RELATION TO THE PROCUREMENT, THE NATURE OF THE ISSUES RAISED, AND HOW THESE CIRCUMSTANCES SHOW THE EXISTENCE OF A DIRECT AND/OR SUBSTANTIAL ECONOMIC INTEREST ON THE PART OF THE PROTESTER. ALTHOUGH A NON-BIDDER MAY BE AN INTERESTED PARTY IF IT HAS A SUBSTANTIAL ECONOMIC INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME OF THE PROCUREMENT, A MEMBER OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC WITH NO DIFFERENT INTEREST THAN ANY OTHER MEMBER IS NOT AN INTERESTED PARTY. TO RULE OTHERWISE WOULD RENDER THE INTERESTED PARTY REQUIREMENT MEANINGLESS. SINCE YOU HAVE REQUESTED THAT WE DECLARE BOTH BIDS NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE OF THE INABILITY OF THE PUBLIC TO DETERMINE THE RESPONSIVENESS AND PRICES OF THE BIDS, YOU ARE NOT AN INTERESTED PARTY AND WE DO NOT THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE TO EXPRESS AN OPINION CONCERNING THE MERITS OF YOUR ARGUMENT.