The Procurement Integrity Act was designed to prevent unfair competition when awarding Government contracts. Contractors cannot use source selection (or proprietary) information from a competitor, no matter how it was obtained.
The Procurement Integrity Act provides, among other things, that a Federal Government official shall not knowingly disclose contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of a Federal agency procurement contract to which the information relates. Additionally, the Procurement Integrity Act provides that a person shall not knowingly obtain contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of a Federal agency procurement contract to which the information relates. FAR 3.1 requires an agency to investigate allegations raised regarding potential violations of the Procurement Integrity Act.
FAR 3.1 further states that a contracting officer who receives or obtains information of a violation or possible violation of the Procurement Integrity Act must determine if the reported violation or possible violation has any impact on the pending award or selection of the contractor. If the contracting officer determines that there is no impact on the procurement, he or she must forward the information concerning the violation or possible violation and documentation supporting a determination that there is no impact on the procurement to an individual designated in accordance with the agency procedures. If that individual agrees with the contracting officer's analysis, the procurement may proceed. If that individual does not agree, the individual must forward the information to the Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) and advise the contracting officer not to proceed with the award.
There have been a number of bid protests over the years charging the Government with a failure to properly investigate alleged violations of the Procurement Integrity Act. Most of these fail; sometimes they are not filed timely and other times, the Government followed its procedures (and the Federal Acquisition Regulations) in determining whether reported violations impacted the procurement.
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