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GAO And SBA Disagree on Effect of Noncompliance With Subcontracting Limitation

April 10, 2007

In TYBRIN Corp. (Mar. 13, 2007,, GAO sustained a protest of the Air Force's reinstatement of a contract award despite the Air Force's reliance on and compliance with the SBA's responsibility determination in favor of the awardee (which was based on the SBA's finding that the awardee, despite having not committed to do so in its proposal, would in fact comply with the RFP's limitation on the extent of subcontracting to large businesses). Despite the SBA's conclusion to the contrary, and the Air Force's reliance on that conclusion, GAO held that where an offeror's proposal fails to comply with a material terms of the solicitation (in this case, the limitation on subcontracting clause as set forth in FAR 52.219-14), the matter is one of the proposal's acceptability or responsiveness (which is reviewable by GAO) rather than the offeror's responsibility (which is solely within the purview of the SBA, if it involves a small business).

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Amy Laderberg O'Sullivan
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2563
Marc F. Efron
Retired Partner – Washington, D.C.