[Claim for Compensation for Unauthorized Services Provided Government]

B-207337: Dec 15, 1982

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Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156


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The Department of Energy (DOE) referred claims of several individuals who provided consultant services but were not reimbursed. These consultants relied upon an oral request of a former DOE consultant and traveled to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of reviewing grant proposals for small-scale alcohol fuels technology projects. The grant solicitation was conducted in two rounds, and DOE rejected the findings of the consultants in the second-round review and had the proposals reevaluated by a new panel. GAO stated that reimbursement for services under a theory of quantum meruit requires that the Government receive a benefit and that the services or goods be authorized by law. Since the work of the consultants in the second-round review provided nothing of value, the Government received no benefit; accordingly, payment on a quantum meruit basis was not allowed. However, GAO believed that the Government had received a benefit from the work of one consultant who participated in the first-round review, because DOE used the results of that round in determining grant recipients. Accordingly, the claim of the first-round reviewer was allowed.