Investigation of Apparent Preferential Treatment of a Potential Contractor by the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command

T-OSI-89-1: Feb 24, 1989

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GAO discussed its investigation of an Army procuring officer's apparent favoritism toward a contractor. GAO noted that: (1) the officer awarded the firm an interim contract for a major research initiative; (2) the officer invited the interim contractor, but no other potential bidders, to a meeting to plan the permanent contract's acquisition strategy; (3) the Army distributed 74 solicitations to potential bidders but received only the interim contractor's bid, and awarded it the permanent contract; (4) an Army criminal investigation concluded that the contractor received acquisition information in violation of Army regulations; (5) the procuring activity concluded that it had not violated regulations, since there was no evidence that the information provided the contractor with a competitive advantage; (6) the procuring officer retired 1 month after receiving a written reprimand from the Army; and (7) procuring activity, as a result of the investigation, issued detailed guidance regarding the release of acquisition information.