Blank Rome Successfully Represents KPMG LLP in GAO Bid Protest Challenging U.S. Air Force Award Decision
A Blank Rome team represented KPMG LLP in a successful bid protest before the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), in which KPMG challenged the award decision of the United States Air Force in a procurement for visible accessible understandable linked trusted (“VAULT”) subject matter expert support.
The Air Force received 27 proposals in response to the solicitation, ranked KPMG’s proposal 14th, and made seven awards to other entities. The Blank Rome team persuaded the GAO to sustain KPMG’s bid protest due to errors in the Air Force’s best value determination and tradeoff. In particular, the Blank Rome team demonstrated the faulty logic underlying the Air Force awards, which were made without meaningful consideration of the actual strengths or weaknesses in the proposals and without meaningfully considering price. The GAO agreed with the Blank Rome team’s argument that the Air Force improperly relied on top-level adjectival rankings (Outstanding, Good, Acceptable, Marginal, etc.) in contravention of GAO jurisprudence establishing that such ratings must be used only as guides to intelligent decision-making.
The GAO held that the cursory nature of the Air Force’s decision prejudiced KPMG, whose proposal was illogically rated 14th out of 27 on the basis of a single minor weakness, even though KPMG’s proposal also had the highest number of identified strengths and a lower price than each of the seven awardees.