The Department of Homeland Security recently admitted that it produced documents after a contract was awarded. The DHS documents were designed to support the selected contractor and fend off bid protests.
The bid was for the Flexible Agile Support for the Homeland or “FLASH” procurement, and the multiple contracts had an estimated value of $1.54 billion. The agency originally rendered a decision on awarding contracts, but revised the process after several protests were filed. On March 11, contracts were awarded, and several bidders again filed protests.
During the protest process, one of the protestors inquired about the nature of several documents submitted by the agency. The protestor was concerned that documents had been “prepared or revised after the March 6 decisions were made.” The agency replied and admitted that “some of the information provided in the AR . . . was prepared or changed after award.”
That was deeply concerning to the Government Accounting Office. Altering DHS documents brought into the question the integrity of the federal bidding process. The GAO ordered a hearing on the protests, something it only did in 2.5% of cases during Fiscal Year 2016. Just prior to the hearing, the agency rescinded all bids, saying “DHS has determined that the evaluation process and documents do not meet DHS’ standards for award.”
It is the second time in recent years that an agency has been accused of faking documents to ward off protests. In that case Judge Wheeler wrote: “The integrity of the administrative record, upon which nearly every bid protest is resolved, is foundational to a fair and equitable procurement process. While the Government has accepted responsibility for its misconduct, the importance of preventing a corrupted record cannot be overstated. “
KDuncan & Company is dedicated to providing knowledge and support for small government contractors about concerns regarding government contracting. For questions on areas such as as cost proposals, accounting systems, DCAA compliance, and incurred cost audits, reach out to KDuncan & Company.