Protest of Rejection of Low Bid

B-205230: Nov 3, 1981

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A small business firm protested the rejection of its bid based upon an Air Force determination that it was nonresponsible. The protester alleged that the contracting officer's nonresponsible determination was based on accusations made by other agencies and contended that the Air Force did not give it a chance to defend itself. The Air Force referred the matter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) which declined to issue a Certificate of Competency (COC). SBA has the authority to issue final determinations as to whether small business concerns are responsible to receive and perform specific Government contracts. GAO has consistently declined to review a contracting officer's determination of nonresponsibility where the determination has been affirmed by the SBA denial of a COC, unless the protester makes a showing of fraud or the record indicates that vital information relevant to the protester's responsibility has not been considered. Since neither exception was present in this case, the protest was dismissed.