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GAO Protest

When government contractors find themselves on the wrong end of an inequitable procurement process, a multifront response is often needed, involving not only direct appeals to targeted public officials but broad public outreach as well.


A global government services provider found itself on the wrong end of a Pentagon decision to re-bid one of its most valuable contracts by inviting only a few pre-selected contractors to compete in a closed process.


The company quickly protested to the GAO while an aggressive and highly-targeted communications campaign highlighted the value provided by the contractor as well as the critical need to ensure an open and fair process. Through efforts on Capitol Hill, media outreach, blogger engagement and third-party advocacy, the company took control of the narrative.


Rising public pressure led lawmakers to start questioning the apparent favoritism as risk-averse. Pentagon insiders were made to feel consistent yet respectful pressure to voluntarily change course in lieu of Congressional or White House inquiries. The GAO found in favor of the contractor and directed the Pentagon to conduct a more transparent process inclusive of all qualified bidders. The benefits were immediately tangible as the company’s stock price rose by 49% during the first quarter after this campaign.