Guidehouse resurrects protest after a DOD award again goes to Deloitte

Guidehouse claims the Defense Department did not conduct an adequate investigation into claims that a DOD official had a potential conflict-of-interest.

Guidehouse has renewed its protest over an $80 million Defense Department contract for audit remediation and sustainment services that went to Deloitte.

A previous protest succeeded after Guidehouse raised issues around potential conflicts of interest. The Defense Department agreed to rethink the choice of Deloitte.

Now Guidehouse has resurrected its protest after Deloitte won the contract for a second time. Here again, Guidehouse is raising issues about a conflict-of-interest because the chair of the technical evaluation board was a former Deloitte employee.

In the first protest, the Government Accountability Office found that DOD did not conduct an independent investigation into Guidehouse’s allegations.

For the newest protest, the company is alleging that the investigation DOD conducted was not inadequate.

The contract supports audit activities by the Defense Department’s comptroller.

Ahead of the first contract award, the unnamed chair disclosed her connection to Deloitte. She was also the contracting officer representative on the predecessor contract before going to work for Deloitte.

Guidehouse argued that she had a financial interest in Deloitte winning the contract. The chair disclosed that she still held a retirement account from her time at Deloitte, though the firm no longer contributed to it. She also may have a pension.

She was cleared of a conflict by DOD’s ethics office, which was enough for the contracting officer to let her go ahead in her role as the chair for the technical evaluation board.

GAO found fault with that process in the first protest because the oversight agency said it could not evaluate whether that decision was “reasonable.”

DOD agreed to pull back the award and investigate. The department ultimately picked Deloitte again.

Guidehouse refiled its protest on May 13 and then filed a supplemental protest on Tuesday to challenge DOD’s conflict of interest investigation. A GAO decision is expected on Aug. 21.

Guidehouse is also challenging the evaluation of proposals and the best-value tradeoff.