The GAO's starting point was classifying the acquisition as one for materials or services.3 In determining that the NLRB subscriptions were the bona fide need of FY 2006, the GAO appears to have placed acquisition form (subscription) over substance (material or service) and thus strained the bona fide needs rule analysis.4 In the instant case, the NLRB renewed seven subscriptions for on-line research tools5 in September 2006, with five beginning on 1 October 2006 and two beginning on 1 November 2006.6 In renewing these subscriptions in September 2006, the NLRB obligated FY 2006 funds even though the contract would be performed entirely in FYs 2007 and FY 2008.7 The NLRB justified its actions regarding these obligations by asserting that the research tool subscriptions were critical to NLRB operations, and that to ensure uninterrupted service on 1 October 2006, the NLRB had to renew the subscriptions in September 2006.8 The GAO accepted the NLRB position, stating that, NLRB reasonably determined that it should place the renewal orders before the subscription ended, which would necessarily be FY 2006. . . .
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