Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest denied.
- Protest that award is improper because awardee’s parent company is not registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database is denied since there is no requirement in the Federal Acquisition Regulation that a potential contractor’s parent company be registered in the CCR.
- Protest that the agency improperly used an unstated evaluation criterion is denied where the statement that gave rise to this protest ground was made by a different contracting officer, in connection with a different procurement than the one at issue in the protest.
- Protest that agency improperly evaluated protester’s proposal for performance confidence is denied where the record shows that, even if the protester’s proposal had received the highest possible rating for performance confidence, the proposal would still have been rated no higher than another lower-priced proposal, and therefore there was no competitive prejudice to the protester.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
CCITE asserts that SIKU is ineligible to do business with the government because its parent company, Harpoon Construction Group, is not registered in the CCR database. The requirements for registering in the CCR database are set out in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 4.11. Nowhere in that subpart does the FAR require that a prospective contractor’s parent company be registered. Rather, the regulations pertain to the offeror itself. As the protester recognizes, the record here shows that SIKU is registered in the CCR. While CCITE argues that the registration requirement should be held to apply to SIKU’s parent company, Harpoon, because SIKU is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harpoon, there is no support in the applicable regulations for this position.
CCITE argues that the Air Force employed an unstated evaluation criterion because it limited eligibility for award to those firms that have previously performed the types of services called for under the RFP. The protester cites the following statement, made by a different contracting officer in connection with a different procurement, as the basis of its claim: “The nature, complexity, and criticality of our requirements mandate that we only hire companies who have performed this service for us (or other [Department of Defense] components) previously.” The record shows that this statement was made in the course of a challenge by CCITE to the Air Force’s use of a particular North American Industry Classification System code in a solicitation that is not the subject of this protest; nevertheless, CCITE argues that the statement has wider applicability and “mandate[s] how offerors are to be evaluated when submitting proposals to the Air Force.” GAO disagrees. There is nothing in the agency’s memorandum on which CCITE relies to suggest that the contracting officer there was referring to anything other than the Air Force’s procurement strategy for that specific, contested solicitation. Any speculation to the contrary does not form a valid basis of protest.
The protester also challenges the agency’s performance confidence rating of the protester’s proposal as “unknown confidence.” GAO needs not resolve this issue because the record shows that there was no prejudice to CCITE arising from any alleged evaluation error in this area. Even if the protester prevailed on this protest ground and received the highest possible performance confidence rating, its price would still be higher than the awardee’s and its rating would be the same. From the record, GAO sees no reasonable possibility that the contracting officer would have selected CCITE’s higher-priced proposal instead of SIKU’s equally-rated, lower-priced proposal. Prejudice is an essential element of every viable protest, and where, as here, none is shown or is otherwise evident, GAO will not sustain the protest. The protest is denied.