GAO, Courts Give Agencies More Flexibility In OCI Rulings

By Dietrich Knauth (April 10, 2012, 6:45 PM EDT) -- Recent decisions by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and courts have allowed agencies more discretion in handling potential organizational conflicts of interests in procurements, backing away from a tradition of automatically recommending that companies be banned from contract competitions because of OCI concerns, attorneys said.

Under OCI regulations, companies can be barred from competing for government contracts when their relationships with other companies threaten to bias a procurement. Bid protest case law has traditionally been unforgiving of such conflicts of interest, but recent decisions have shifted the landscape and given contractors more of an opportunity to explain away or mitigate potential...

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