NASA broke procurement promise to GAO, senator says
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Apr 06, 2007
NASA needs to account for misleading the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) on a pledge to review contracting irregularities after
having a bid protest dismissed in 2005, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)
said in a letter to the space agency.
In the letter sent April
5, Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said
NASA made specific commitments to GAO as part of its response to a bid
protest. The commitments led GAO to dismiss the protest. However, a
review by NASA’s inspector general found that agency did not follow
through on its promises, Grassley said.
“NASA needs to ensure
that basic procurement principles are followed,” Grassley said in a
statement. The agency also needs to update GAO following a protest’s
dismissal so the congressional audit agency takes NASA’s commitments
seriously, he said.
Parametric Technology won a contract for
$5.2 million in September 2005 for mechanical computer-aided design
(MCAD) and data management software licenses at multiple NASA centers.
Two vendors protested, saying the agency improperly conducted the
acquisition by not complying with competition requirements, according
to Grassley's letter.
NASA found inconsistencies, but said it
would recompete the contract and review its procedures. Based on that,
GAO dismissed the protestm but Grassley said NASA failed to recompete
“It appears NASA did not begin the agencywide
review of requirements for MCAD software, as it told GAO it would after
the dismissal of the bid protest,” the senator wrote. Instead, NASA
officials drafted a different document in February 2006 allowing the
agency to avoid another open competition.
Grassley wrote that
NASA made misleading statements to GAO, resulting in a dismissed
procurement protest. It also appears that NASA changed course shortly
after GAO's dismissal, according to the letter.
investigation, Grassley asked NASA for details about its actions and
what contracting irregularities it found in the 2005 procurement. He
also asked about other inconsistencies and bid protests since 2001. In
addition, Grassley asked for a list of current or ongoing procurements.