Bid Protests by ProQuest

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The Court of Federal Claims (COFC) determined that a protest timely filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) does not ensure that a protestor qualifies as an interested party in a subsequent protest to the COFC.1 The COFC exercises jurisdiction over protests under the Tucker Act, as amended by the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (ADRA) of 1996.2 The Tucker Act grants the COFC power to: [R]ender judgment on an action by an interested party objecting to a solicitation by a Federal agency for bids or proposals for a proposed contract or to a proposed award or the award of a contract or any alleged violation of statute or regulation in connection with a procurement or a proposed procurement.3 An "interested party" is defined as "an actual or prospective bidder or offeror" who has a direct economic interest in the procurement.4 The COFC considered the effect of a prior GAO protest on interested party status in Shirlington.5 In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) restructured its transportation plan and decided to procure comprehensive transportation services through contract.6 The transportation services included shuttle bus transport between DHS offices and executive sedan transport for VIPs.7 After reviewing results obtained from a Request for Information, the DHS determined that an insufficient number of capable Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) businesses existed for a HUBZone set-aside.8 Nevertheless, sufficient numbers of capable small businesses existed, and the DHS conducted the procurement as a regular small business set-aside.9 Shirlington Limousine & Transportation, Inc. (Shirlington), a HUBZone business and the incumbent contractor performing an existing shuttle service contract, timely protested to the GAO that the procurement should be conducted as a HUBZone set-aside.10 While the protest was pending, the offer due date came, and Shirlington submitted its offer to an incorrect location.11 When the DHS responde

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