Understanding the GAO protest process for filing a case can sometimes be confusing to contractors. Unless bidders understand the procedural aspects, they can run the risk of the bid protest being GAO Bid Protest Proceduresdismissed.

GAO bid protest procedures start with the filing of the bid protest letter to GAO. The letter must state a give the factual and legal basis for the protest. After filing with GAO, the contracting agency is notified. Then it must file an agency report with GAO and provide a copy to the protestor and intervenor.

Unless the parties, through their attorneys, are approved to be admitted to the protective order, the agency report will be heavily redacted to protect sensitive source selection information.

After receiving the agency report, bidding protest procedures then require the protestor to file written comments on the report. Other parties to the case, will also be permitted to file written comments.

During the GAO protest process, GAO can schedule status conferences of other hearings or conferences as it sees fit. This process allows GAO to inquiry and resolve factual and legal issues.

The final part of the bid protest procedures allows GAO to consider all the facts and legal issues presented by the protestor, intervenor and other parties. GAO bid protest procedures also require GAO to rule on whether or not the agency violated procurement laws or regulations and whether such violations prejudiced protestor.

If GAO agrees with the protestor, it will sustain the protest and will recommend necessary action. Alternatively, if GAO disagrees with the protestor,  procedures require GAO to deny the protest or may dismiss the protest without reviewing the matter.

GAO Bid Protest Procedures — Filing & Decision Timeline

One of the most important aspects of GAO bid protest procedures is the filing timeline. A protest must be filed with GAO no later than ten days after the protestor, knew or should have known about the basis for the protest. Failure to meet the procedural deadline will cause GAO to dismiss the protest as untimely.

  • Filing a timely request for a “required debriefing” can suspend the filing deadline until after receipt of the debriefing.

GAO will issue its final decision no later than 100 days from the date the protest was filed.


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For help with the GAO bid protest procedures, filing on intervening into a bid protest, please call the Washington DC protest law firm at Watson & Associates, LLC at 1-866-601-5518 for a Free Initial Consultation.