Request for Advisory Opinion on Protest of IFB

B-203391.4: Apr 1, 1982

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A district court requested an advisory opinion with respect to a protest concerning an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Army for radio testing equipment. Each of the two bidders contended that it was the low responsive and responsible bidder and entitled to the award. The protester, whose bid was highest, filed a suit with a district court to enjoin the Army from awarding the contract pending a GAO determination of its protest. The court granted a temporary restraining order until the GAO determination was made. In the meantime, the Army determined the low offeror's bid to be nonresponsive. That firm subsequently filed an action in the district court for declaratory and injunctive relief. Once again, the court enjoined the Army from making an award and asked GAO to consider and resolve the situation. GAO denied the second firm's objection to the Army's rejection of its bid as nonresponsive. However, GAO found that the protester's bid did not meet the IFB specifications and was also nonresponsive. Since the Army was left with no responsive bids, GAO recommended that the Army cancel the solicitation and recompete its requirements. GAO concluded that the problems which resulted in the protest were due, at least in part, to the confusing data requirements in the solicitation and expressed its hope that the Army would eliminate the confusing array of attachments, subsections, and clauses in the new solicitation.