Protest Alleging Nonresponsibility of Awardee

B-193283: Nov 9, 1979

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A firm requested reconsideration of the denial of its protest of the award of two contracts for military stopwatches. The firm had alleged that the awardee could or would not deliver a product listed on the Qualified Products List, as required by the specifications. It also alleged that the awardee was not an authorized distributor of the qualified product. GAO originally held that the protest involved questions about the awardee's responsibility or about the administration of a contract. Such questions do not meet the criteria for GAO review. In requesting reconsideration, the firm contended that the basis of its protest was that evidence was present during a pre-award survey indicating that the awardee did not intend to supply a qualified product. The evidence, the firm contended, showed that the contracting officer's determination of the awardee's responsibility was so carelessly and negligently made that it should have been challenged. It has been the policy of GAO not to review affirmative determinations of responsibility except where the actions of the procuring officials were tantamount to fraud or where the determination has been made contrary to the solicitation's provisions. Upon reconsideration, it was held that the scope of review should not be extended to cases in which the contracting officer's affirmative determination of responsibility is allegedly negligent and/or careless. The prior decision was affirmed.