Incentive-Based Procurement Oversight by Protest

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Jim Leitzel; Jean Tirole


0813385660 9780813385662


Boulder : Westview Press




The federal government spends approximately $17 billion each year on automated data processing and telecommunication equipment (ADPTE). This equipment is typically procured by competitive bidding or sole-source negotiation. Prior to 1984 two common complaints existed regarding this process. First, sole-source negotiation was excessively employed. Second, when competitive bidding was employed the equipment specifications were often unnecessarily restrictive and/or written to benefit a single contractor or subset of potential contractors who were favored by the procurement official (PO). Furthermore, when evaluating the merits of each bidder’s proposal the PO would often exercise biased discretion in favor of a particular contractor. In response to these perceived problems Congress passed the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) in 1984. One of CICA’s main provisions invested the General Service Administration’s Board of Contract Appeals (GSBCA) with ADPTE protest jurisdiction. Potential and actual bidders at federal ADPTE procurements now have the right to protest the actions of POs before this quasi-judicial body that has the power to subpoena documents, depose government officials, and conduct de novo review of agency decisions. The judicial powers of the GSBCA significantly distinguish it from the protest forums that were available prior to 1984

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