GAO denies Equifax bid protest

Shutterstock image (by kmlmtz66): businessman confronting a judge's gavel. 

The Government Accountability Office denied Equifax's protest of an IRS award to Experian for identity management and taxpayer fraud protection services.

Because of delays incurred as a result of the protest, IRS awarded an extension to Equifax's existing contract. That move that touched off a firestorm of criticism on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers expressing anger and alarm that the vendor would win an identity management award less than a month after it announced a breach in which sensitive personal data of up to 145 million Americans was compromised.

The IRS suspended the $7.2 million bridge contract with Equifax Oct. 12 after it was discovered that code from a third-party vendor was redirecting users to malware on the company's website.

In an Oct. 16 statement, Ralph O. White, GAO's managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said that the Equifax protest was based on "an unreasonable interpretation of the solicitation."

GAO rejected arguments from Equifax that alleged that its rival Experian, which won the contract, wasn't able to meet the technical requirements of the solicitation. In its statement, GAO concluded that, "IRS reasonably found that the Experian offer would meet the agency's needs."

The complete protest results are not yet public, due to a GAO protective order that limits access to outside parties due to proprietary or confidential information. GAO is will ask all parties to identify any information that falls into this category so the agency can remove it and publish the results.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at, or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.