A Steady Drumbeat?

In every Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) bid protest decision, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that it will defer to the Contracting Officer (CO) – i.e., that it “will review the reasonableness of a contracting officer’s OCI investigation and, where an agency has given meaningful consideration to whether a significant conflict of interest exists, . . . will not substitute our judgment for the agency’s, absent clear evidence that the agency’s conclusion is unreasonable.” In past years, however, several GAO decisions raised doubt as to whether GAO was merely paying lip service to the deference standard.  In each of these cases, involving all three types of OCI’s, GAO reversed a CO’s determination made after what seemed to be a serious and reasonable investigation and … Continue reading