4 CFR § 21.3 - Notice of protest, communications among parties, submission of agency report, and time for filing of comments on report.
(a) GAO shall notify the agency within 1 day after the filing of a protest, and, unless the protest is dismissed under this part, shall promptly provide a written confirmation to the agency and an acknowledgment to the protester. The agency shall immediately give notice of the protest to the awardee if award has been made or, if no award has been made, to all bidders or offerors who appear to have a substantial prospect of receiving an award. The agency shall provide copies of the protest submissions to those parties, except where disclosure of the information is prohibited by law, with instructions to communicate further directly with GAO. All parties shall provide copies of all communications with GAO to the agency and to other participating parties either through EPDS or by email. GAO's website [https://epds.gao.gov/login] includes guidance regarding when to file through EPDS versus communicating by email or other means.
(b) A agency or intervenor which believes that the protest or specific protest allegations should be dismissed before submission of an agency report should file a request for dismissal as soon as practicable.
(c) The agency shall file a report on the protest within 30 days after receiving notice of the protest from GAO. The report need not contain documents which the agency has previously provided or otherwise made available to the parties in response to the protest. At least 5 days prior to the filing of the report, in cases in which the protester has filed a request for specific documents, the agency shall file a response to the request for documents. If the fifth day prior to the filing of the report falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the response shall be filed by the last business day that precedes the weekend or holiday. The agency's response shall, at a minimum, identify whether the requested documents exist, which of the requested documents or portions thereof the agency intends to produce, which of the requested documents or portions thereof the agency intends to withhold, and the basis for not producing any of the requested documents or portions thereof. Any objection to the scope of the agency's proposed disclosure or nondisclosure of documents must be filed within 2 days of receipt of this response.
(d) The report shall include the contracting officer's statement of the relevant facts (including a best estimate of the contract value), a memorandum of law, and a list and a copy of all relevant documents, or portions of documents, not previously produced, including, as appropriate: the bid or proposal submitted by the protester; the bid or proposal of the firm which is being considered for award, or whose bid or proposal is being protested; all evaluation documents; the solicitation, including the specifications; the abstract of bids or offers; and any other relevant documents. In appropriate cases, a party may file a request that another party produce relevant documents, or portions of documents, that are not in the agency's possession.
(e) Where a protester or intervenor does not have counsel admitted to a protective order and documents are withheld from the protester or intervenor on that basis, the agency shall file redacted documents that adequately inform the protester and/or intervenor of the basis of the agency's arguments in response to the protest. GAO's website [https://epds.gao.gov/login] provides guidance regarding filing documents where no protective order is issued or where a protester or intervenor does not have counsel admitted to a protective order.
(f) The agency may file a request for an extension of time for the submission of the response to be filed by the agency pursuant to § 21.3(c) or for the submission of the agency report. Extensions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
(g) The protester may file a request for additional documents after receipt of the agency report when their existence or relevance first becomes evident. Except when authorized by GAO, any request for additional documents must be filed not later than 2 days after their existence or relevance is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier. The agency shall file the requested documents, or portions of documents, within 2 days or explain why it is not required to produce the documents.
(h) Upon a request filed by a party, GAO will decide whether the agency must file any withheld documents, or portions of documents, and whether this should be done under a protective order. When withheld documents are provided, the protester's comments on the agency report shall be filed within the original comment filing period unless GAO determines that an extension is appropriate.
(1) Comments on the agency report shall be filed within 10 days after the agency has filed the report, except where GAO has granted an extension of time, or where GAO has established a shorter period for filing of comments. Extensions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
(3) GAO will dismiss any protest allegation or argument where the agency's report responds to the allegation or argument, but the protester's comments fail to address that response.
(j) GAO may request or permit the submission of additional statements by the parties and by other parties participating in the protest as may be necessary for the fair resolution of the protest. The agency and other parties must receive GAO's approval before submitting any additional statements. GAO reserves the right to disregard material submitted without prior approval.