Protest of Navy Contract Award

B-198811: Nov 19, 1980

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A firm requested reconsideration of a GAO decision dismissing its protest against the award of a contract by the Department of the Navy to another firm. In that decision, GAO found that the firm had not diligently pursued its protest by seeking within a reasonable period of time the information which eventually revealed to the firm its basis for protest. The firm contended that GAO erred in finding that it had not diligently pursued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the information which revealed the basis for protest. The firm argued that the decision was based on factual errors which made it appear that the firm was dilatory in perfecting its FOIA request when, in fact, it had acted expeditiously. Finally, the firm argued that, once its protest had been filed with the Navy and with GAO, the Navy was dilatory in reporting on the matter to GAO and in supplying requested documentation to the firm. The firm presented new facts, contrary to previous information, showing that 25 working days elapsed before the firm perfected its FOIA request. Even though the firm did not at that time know its basis for protest, GAO has held in similar circumstances that a 5-week delay in making an FOIA request, which leads to information showing the basis for protest, is an unreasonable length of time to seek such information. The fact that the Navy may have been dilatory in reporting on this protest or in responding to the Firm's requests for information is irrelevant and does not excuse the firm's failure to diligently pursue the information which revealed the basis for the firm's protest. Accordingly, the prior decision in this matter was affirmed.