Skip to Highlights
Highlights

SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10. ALL BIDDERS WERE ADVISED PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION OF BIDS THAT THEY SHOULD FILE WITH THEIR BIDS A STATEMENT GIVING SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF EXPERIENCE. BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT AN AWARD WOULD BE MADE ON THE AGGREGATE AND NOT ITEM BY ITEM TO THAT RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WHOSE BID. IN SUBMITTING A BID EACH BIDDER WAS REQUIRED TO WARRANT THAT NO PERSONS WERE INTERESTED WITH THE BIDDER EXCEPT AS MIGHT BE INDICATED. EACH BID FORM CONTAINED A STATEMENT THAT IT WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY CONNECTION WITH ANY PERSON MAKING A BID FOR THE SAME PURPOSE AND THAT THE BID WAS IN ALL RESPECTS FAIR AND WITHOUT COLLUSION OR FRAUD. REPORTER FURTHER AGREES THAT COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS WILL BE SOLD AT NOT TO EXCEED THE PRICES SET FORTH IN SCHEDULES A AND B HEREIN.

View Decision

B-124287, JUN. 29, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE THOMAS J. HERBERT, CHAIRMAN, SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1955, FORWARDING A COPY OF AN INVITATION ISSUED MAY 25, 1955, FOR BIDS FOR FURNISHING TO YOUR BOARD STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1956, TOGETHER WITH CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING A PROTEST RECEIVED IN CONNECTION WITH THE BIDDING, AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR SUCH SERVICES.

ALL BIDDERS WERE ADVISED PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION OF BIDS THAT THEY SHOULD FILE WITH THEIR BIDS A STATEMENT GIVING SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF EXPERIENCE, EQUIPMENT TO PERFORM THE SERVICE CONTRACTED FOR, AND GENERAL BUSINESS RELIABILITY, AND THAT ONLY ONE BID WOULD BE CONSIDERED FROM EACH BIDDER. BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT AN AWARD WOULD BE MADE ON THE AGGREGATE AND NOT ITEM BY ITEM TO THAT RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WHOSE BID, CONFORMING TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, WOULD BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. IN SUBMITTING A BID EACH BIDDER WAS REQUIRED TO WARRANT THAT NO PERSONS WERE INTERESTED WITH THE BIDDER EXCEPT AS MIGHT BE INDICATED, AND EACH BID FORM CONTAINED A STATEMENT THAT IT WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY CONNECTION WITH ANY PERSON MAKING A BID FOR THE SAME PURPOSE AND THAT THE BID WAS IN ALL RESPECTS FAIR AND WITHOUT COLLUSION OR FRAUD.

PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE SCHEDULE OF SERVICES AND MATERIALS TO BE FURNISHED PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"2. THE BOARD AGREES THAT REPORTER MAY SELL TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC COPIES OF ANY TRANSCRIPTS OF PUBLIC HEARINGS REPORTED AND DEPOSITIONS TAKEN, AND REPORTER AGREES TO FURNISH THE LABOR AND MATERIALS TO PERFORM THE WORK SPECIFIED IN THIS CONTRACT, UNDER THE CONDITIONS AND IN THE MANNER PROVIDED, AND TO SELL TO THE BOARD TEN COPIES, AND SUCH ADDITIONAL COPIES AS IT MAY REQUIRE, OF TRANSCRIPTS OF SUCH HEARINGS AND DEPOSITIONS AT PRICES NOT TO EXCEED THE UNIT PRICES SET FORTH IN SCHEDULE A HEREIN. REPORTER FURTHER AGREES TO SELL TO THE GOVERNMENT (EXCEPT THE BOARD) AND TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS OF SUCH HEARINGS AND DEPOSITIONS AT PRICES NOT TO EXCEED THE UNIT PRICES SET FORTH IN SCHEDULE B HEREIN. REPORTER FURTHER AGREES THAT COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS WILL BE SOLD AT NOT TO EXCEED THE PRICES SET FORTH IN SCHEDULES A AND B HEREIN, WITHOUT ANY FURTHER CHARGE.'

THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION ARE SUMMARIZED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

"ACE ALDERSON COLUMBIA F. J.

REPORTING REPORTING REPORTING MCCABE

COMPANY COMPANY COMPANY

--------- --------- --------- ------- "SCHEDULE A - WASH., D.C.

(10 COPIES TO BOARD) ITEM 1 - ORDINARY COPY .70 .18 .35 FREE ITEM 2 - DAILY COPY .90 .18 .40 FREE ITEM 3 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 1 .05 .05 .10 FREE ITEM 4 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 2 .05 .05 .10 FREE SCHEDULE A - CONTINENTAL U.S.

(10 COPIES TO BOARD) ITEM 1 - ORDINARY COPY .90 .40 .45 .27 ITEM 2 - DAILY COPY 1.10 .50 .50 .37 ITEM 3 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 1 .05 .05 .10 .05 ITEM 4 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 2 .05 .05 .10 .05 SCHEDULE B - WASH., D.C.

(PER COPY TO PUBLIC AND GOVT.) ITEM 1 - ORDINARY COPY 1.00 .55 .50 .90 ITEM 2 - DAILY COPY 1.10 .90 .75 .90 ITEM 3 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 1 .10 .55 .50 .25 ITEM 4 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 2 .10 .35 .75 .45 SCHEDULE B - CONTINENTAL U.S.

(PER COPY TO PUBLIC AND GOVT.) ITEM 1 - ORDINARY COPY 1.00 .55 .60 .90 ITEM 2 - DAILY COPY 1.25 .98 1.00 1.00 ITEM 3 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 1 .10 .55 .60 .40 ITEM 4 - ADDITIONAL ITEM 2 .10 .35 1.00 .40"

BY LETTERS DATED JUNE 3 AND 8, 1955, HAROLD B. ALDERSON, PRESIDENT, ALDERSON REPORTING COMPANY, PROTESTED THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO FRANK J. MCCABE "ON THE GROUND THAT THE PRICE BID FOR REGULAR DELIVERY TO THE PUBLIC IS AN UNREASONABLE RATE.' IT IS CLAIMED ALSO THAT ALTHOUGH MCCABE DISCLAIMS ANY CONNECTION WITH ANY OF THE OTHER THREE BIDDERS HE AND THE COLUMBIA REPORTING COMPANY SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FILE AFFIDAVITS WITH YOUR BOARD STATING THAT THEIR BIDS WERE "MADE WITHOUT ANY CONNECTION WITH ANY PERSON MAKING A BID FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, AND THAT THE BID IS IN ALL RESPECTS FAIR AND WITHOUT COLLUSION OR FRAUD.' IN LETTERS DATED JUNE 6, 7, 8, 1955, MR. MCCABE STATED TO YOUR BOARD THAT HE HAD THE EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS TO PERFORM THE CONTRACT, IS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE OTHER BIDDERS, AND THAT HIS MAXIMUM PRICE TO DEFENDANTS THROUGHOUT THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 WILL BE 65 CENTS PER PAGE AND NOT 90 CENTS, THE MAXIMUM PRICE STATED IN HIS BID.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT PAST EXPERIENCE SHOWS "THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC AS SUCH DOES NOT NORMALLY PURCHASE COPIES OF THE TRANSCRIPT," AND THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN ALL CASES TO DATE HAS PURCHASED ONE OR TWO COPIES ON A DAILY BASIS; THAT RESPONDENTS BEFORE THE BOARD ARE NOT PURCHASING TRANSCRIPTS AS THEY APPEAR, BUT IN SOME CASES HAVE PURCHASED ORDINARY COPIES; AND THAT "IN ONE INSTANCE NEGOTIATIONS ARE IN PROGRESS FOR THE PURPOSE AFTER THE RECORD IN THE CASE HAS BEEN CLOSED OF THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT AT A FLAT CASH PRICE.' CONTINUING, YOU STATE THAT SO FAR AS THE BOARD ITSELF IS CONCERNED MCCABE'S BID IS LOW, BUT THAT SHOULD THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SWITCH FROM DAILY COPY TO ORDINARY COPY AND PURCHASE ONE COPY ONLY THE TOTAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE LESS UNDER THE ALDERSON BID, AND THAT FOR HEARINGS HELD OUTSIDE WASHINGTON, D.C., THIS WOULD BE TRUE EVEN IF TWO ORDINARY COPIES WERE TO BE PURCHASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

YOU EXPRESS A DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE STATEMENT IN MCCABE'S LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1955, THAT THE MAXIMUM PRICE TO DEFENDANTS THROUGHOUT THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 WOULD BE 65 CENTS AND NOT 90 CENTS CONSTITUTES AN ATTEMPTED MODIFICATION OF THE BID AFTER OPENING, AND ALSO "AS TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH PUBLIC POLICY IN KEEPING DOWN COSTS OF LITIGATION TO LITIGANTS, OR COSTS OF COPY TO THE PUBLIC GENERALLY SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.'

WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD IN CASES OF THIS KIND THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS CONCERNED WITH THE PRICES TO BE CHARGED THE GENERAL PUBLIC ONLY TO SEE THAT THEY ARE NOT EXORBITANT. HOWEVER, IN THIS CASE IT APPEARS THAT THE PRICES TO THE PUBLIC ARE ALSO THE PRICES TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHICH IS ONE OF THE REGULAR PURCHASERS, AND THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS CONTAIN THE SPECIFIC PROVISION THAT "IN THE EVENT THE BIDDER ELECTS TO FURNISH THE BOARD THE WORK FREE OR IN THE EVENT OF "TIE BIDS," THE CONTRACT WILL BE AWARDED TO THE BIDDER OFFERING THE LOWEST PRICE FOR SALE OF COPIES TO THE GOVERNMENT (EXCLUDING THE BOARD) AND TO THE PUBLIC.'

THE EVALUATION OF BIDS, ESPECIALLY IN THOSE CASES WHERE FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE TO THE GOVERNMENT ARE REQUIRED TO BE CONSIDERED, IS THE FUNCTION PRIMARILY OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY. HOWEVER, ON THE RECORD NOW BEFORE US WE ARE UNABLE TO SAY THAT THE PRICES QUOTED BY MR. MCCABE UNDER SCHEDULE B ARE SO EXORBITANT AS TO REQUIRE US TO RAISE AN OBJECTION THERETO, IF IT BE DETERMINED BY YOUR BOARD THAT AWARD TO HIM WILL BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

WHILE YOU STATE THAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE LESS UNDER THE ALDERSON BID SHOULD THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SWITCH FROM DAILY COPY TO ORDINARY COPY, THERE IS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT THE DEPARTMENT WILL MAKE SUCH A SWITCH. ON THE CONTRARY, YOU STATE THAT THE DEPARTMENT HAS UP TO THE PRESENT TIME PURCHASED ONE OR TWO COPIES ON A DAILY BASIS. THEREFORE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT EVALUATION OF THE BIDS ON THAT BASIS WOULD BE THE NORMAL AND REASONABLE PROCEDURE.

THE STATEMENT BY MR. MCCABE IN HIS LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1955, THAT THE MAXIMUM PRICE TO DEFENDANTS WILL BE 65 CENTS PER PAGE FOR ORDINARY COPIES DURING THE CONTRACT PERIOD, SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AMENDING THE BID SUBMITTED, SINCE IT IS CONDITIONED UPON A CONCLUSION BY THE BOARD THAT THE 90-CENT PRICE IS TOO HIGH. HOWEVER, IF AWARD BE MADE TO MR. MCCABE ON THE BID AS SUBMITTED THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A VOLUNTARY REDUCTION IN THIS MAXIMUM PRICE BY AMENDMENT OF THE CONTRACT.

IN DETERMINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF ANY BIDDER TO PERFORM THE WORK, IT IS PROPER TO CONSIDER THE FACILITIES, CLASS OF PERSONNEL, RELIABILITY, AND REPUTATION OF THOSE SUBMITTING BIDS, BUT THE REJECTION OF THE LOWEST BID WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED EXCEPT UPON A SHOWING OF SUCH FACTS AS REASONABLY WOULD JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT THE BIDDER COULD NOT OR WOULD NOT RENDER SATISFACTORY SERVICE. 6 COMP. GEN. 295; 6 ID. 430. MR. MCCABE CLAIMS FIELD CONNECTIONS AND EXPERIENCE WHICH ESTABLISH HIS ABILITY TO HANDLE SATISFACTORILY THE WORK OF YOUR BOARD ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES, AND IT IS ALSO UNDERSTOOD THAT THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER WILL BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A BOND. YOU INDICATE THAT YOUR BOARD IS SATISFIED AS TO HIS ABILITY TO PERFORM, AND WE FIND NO REASON TO OBJECT TO THAT CONCLUSION; NOR, IN THE ABSENCE OF MORE CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF IMPROPER CONNECTION BETWEEN MCCABE AND ONE OR MORE OF THE OTHER BIDDERS, DO WE RAISE ANY QUESTION ON THAT PHASE OF THE MATTER.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT AN AWARD OF THE CONTRACT FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICE FOR YOUR BOARD FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 TO MR. MCCABE WILL NOT BE OBJECTED TO ON THE PRESENT RECORD.

GAO Contacts