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The Government Accountability Office recently rejected a novel argument regarding how timeliness is to be determined for GAO protests filed after an agency either dismisses or denies an agency-level protest.  In finding that the timeliness of such a protest does not depend on the nature of the adverse agency action, GAO has effectively prevented an agency from dismissing an agency-level protest without considering the merits of the protest, and then moving to dismiss on timeliness grounds at GAO so as to preclude any review on the merits.

In Logis-Tech, Inc., B-407687, Jan. 24, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ –, the United States Marine Corps argued that the protest should be dismissed as untimely because, by first filing an "unauthorized" agency-level protest, the protester missed its chance to file at GAO within 10 days of its debriefing.  The relevant timeline of events is that: on September 26th, the Marine Corps notified vendors of award and sent debriefing letters to each of the offerors; nine days later, on October 5th, Logis-Tech filed an agency-level protest with the contracting officer; seven days after that, on October 12th, the Marine Corps dismissed the agency-level protest on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction; and then, on October 16th, Logis-Tech filed its protest at GAO.Continue Reading Application of GAO’s Timeliness Rules for GAO Protests Filed after Agency-Level Protest Is the Same Regardless of the Nature of the Adverse Agency Action