Choice of Forum for Federal Government Contract Bid Protests

    14 May 2009

    Written by Michael J. Schaengold, Elizabeth Gill and Michael T. Guiffre—A “disappointed offeror” for a U.S. Government Executive Branch contract ordinarily has three major options for contesting the award of a contract to a competitor or its failure to be awarded a contract.1 The disappointed offeror may file a “bid protest” with (1) the agency (i.e., an agency-level bid protest resolved by the Contracting Officer (“CO”) or at a level above the CO), (2)the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), or (3) the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”).2 Similarly, a prospective offeror that files a bid protest before the submission of bids or proposals (e.g., with respect to the terms of the solicitation)—or some other form of pre award protest—also has the choice of these three forums to file a pre award protest.