GAO weighs employee A-76 protest rights

GAO weighs employee A-76 protest rights

For the first time, the General Accounting Office is considering giving federal employees the right to file bid protests related to public-private competitions.

The revised Circular A-76, issued last month by the Office of Management and Budget, gives any employee who represents federal bidders or their unions the right to appeal to agencies [see story at]. In a request for comments published in the Federal Register, GAO asks for information about extending appeal rights a step further and about who should represent employees.

GAO noted that the Competition in Contracting Act sets the rules for who constitutes an interested party, defined as an actual or prospective bidder or offerer whose direct interest would be affected. Currently, GAO considers only private-sector protests of A-76 competitions because federal employees and their unions do not meet the CICA definition, the audit agency said.

GAO wants to hear from agencies and industry about whether the new circular justifies a new definition of who is an interested party. The audit agency asked for comments on:

  • How GAO should make the decision

  • Whether in-house competitors should be considered interested parties

  • What impact the change would have on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's view that federal employees lack standing to file appeals.

GAO will accept comments until July 16. They can be sent via e-mail to

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