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Is There a Forum Above GAO That Hears Appeals of GAO Bid Protest Decisions?  

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  1. 1. Is There a Forum Above GAO that Hears Appeals of GAO Bid Protest Decisions?

    • Yes
    • No

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  • Poll closed on 05/18/2018 at 09:00 PM

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In the Case of a protest to the Court of Federal Claims (COFC), there is the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which hears appeals of COFC decisions.  

But, how about appeals from a GAO bid protest decision.  After GAO renders a bid protest decision, there may be a request to GAO for reconsideration.  However, this question asks something totally different:  Is there a forum above GAO that hears appeals of GAO bid protest decisions.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest PepeTheFrog

PepeTheFrog is going out on a lily pad.

Creative answer: Congress. 

GAO is Congress' watchdog and works for Congress.

Agency loses the bid protest. GAO sustains the protest in favor of the contractor. Agency thinks this decision is wrong.

Agency writes a letter to GAO and copies Congress saying so and explaining why they will not comply with the GAO recommendation.

Congress hauls in the leader of the agency to explain.

Therefore, that discussion with Congress is the "appeals forum" for the agency. 

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Interesting.  However, GAO reports to Congress and I found no requirement for an agency to report (appeal) to Congress.  Instances of agencies not following GAO recommendations are rare and a quick look shows, that when they do occur, it may be caused by disagreements with the COFC.   If the courts and agencies are eliminated from hearing protests, GAO protests should be dealt with in 100 days.  If they aren't, GAO must report its failure to Congress in its annual report.

Before I posted the poll, I asked myself if there is an avenue for appealing a GAO protest decision and I couldn't think of any.  I looked at the law quickly and couldn't find any.  Then I asked a popular search engine and found this from the Public Contracting Institute.

Below are excerpts from the law I identified.


31 U.S. Code § 3554

(b) (3)  If the Federal agency fails to implement fully the recommendations of the Comptroller General under this subsection with respect to a solicitation for a contract or an award or proposed award of a contract within 60 days after receiving the recommendations, the head of the procuring activity responsible for that contract shall report such failure to the Comptroller General not later than 5 days after the end of such 60-day period.



31 U.S. Code § 3554 (e)

(1)The Comptroller General shall report promptly to the Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives any case in which a Federal agency fails to implement fully a recommendation of the Comptroller General under subsection (b) or (c). The report shall include—
(A) a comprehensive review of the pertinent procurement, including the circumstances of the failure of the Federal agency to implement a recommendation of the Comptroller General; and
(B) a recommendation regarding whether, in order to correct an inequity or to preserve the integrity of the procurement process, the Congress should consider—
(i) private relief legislation;
(ii) legislative rescission or cancellation of funds;
(iii) further investigation by Congress; or
(iv) other action.
(2) Not later than January 31 of each year, the Comptroller General shall transmit to the Congress a report containing a summary of each instance in which a Federal agency did not fully implement a recommendation of the Comptroller General under subsection (b) or (c) during the preceding year.


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