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DIAR

Part Number: 1480

Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation

Subpart 1480.9 - Challenges to Representation

1480.901 General.

(a) The CO can accept an offeror's written representation of being an IEE (as defined in 1480.201) only when it is submitted with an offer in response to a solicitation under the Buy Indian Act. Another interested party may challenge the representation of an offeror or contractor by filing a written challenge to the applicable CO in accordance with the procedures in 1480.902.

(b) After receipt of offers, the CO may question the representation of any offeror in a specific offer by filing a formal objection with the CCO.

1480.902 Receipt of challenge.

(a) An interested party must file any challenges against an offeror's representation with the cognizant CO.

(b) The challenge must be in writing and must contain the basis for the challenge with accurate, complete, specific, and detailed evidence. The evidence must support the allegation that the offeror fails to meet the definition of “Indian Economic Enterprise” or “Indian Small Business Economic Enterprise” as defined in 1480.201 or is otherwise ineligible. The CO will dismiss any challenge that is deemed frivolous or that does not meet the conditions in this section.

(c) To be considered timely, a challenge must be received by the CO no later than 10 days after the basis of challenge is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier.

(1) A challenge may be made orally if it is confirmed in writing within the 10-day period after the basis of challenge is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier.

(2) A written challenge may be delivered by hand, telefax, telegram, email, or letter postmarked within the 10-day period after the basis of challenge is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier.

(3) A CO's challenge to a certification is always considered timely, whether filed before or after award.

(d) Upon receiving a timely challenge, the CO must:

(1) Notify the challenger of the date it was received, and that the representation of the enterprise being challenged is under consideration; and

(2) Furnish to the offeror (whose representation is being challenged) a request to provide detailed information on its eligibility by certified mail, return receipt requested or electronic mail.

(e) Within 3 days after receiving a copy of the challenge and the CO's request for detailed information, the challenged offeror must file, as specified at paragraph (d)(2) of this section, with the CO a complete statement answering the allegations in the challenge and furnish evidence to support its position on representation. If the offeror does not submit the required material within the 3 days, or another period of time granted by the CO, the CO may assume that the offeror does not intend to dispute the challenge and must not award to the challenged offeror.

(f) Within 10 days after receiving a challenge, the challenged offeror's response, and any other pertinent information, the CO must determine the representation status of the challenged offeror and notify the challenger and the challenged offeror of the decision by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by other expeditious means including by hand, email, telefax, or telegraph if actual delivery can be shown, and make known to all parties the option to appeal the determination to the Director, Office of Acquisition and Property Management, Department of the Interior (PAM).

(g) If the representation accompanying an offer is challenged and subsequently upheld by the Director of PAM, the written notification of this action must state the reason(s).

1480.903 Award in the face of challenge.

(a) Award of a contract in the face of challenge may be made on the basis of the CO's written determination that the challenged offeror's representation is valid.

(1) This determination of validity is final unless it is appealed to the Director of PAM and the CO is notified of the appeal before making award.

(2) If an award was made before the CO received notice of appeal, the award is presumed to be valid.

(b) After receiving a challenge involving an offeror being considered for award, the CO must not award the contract until the CO has determined the validity of the representation. Award may be made in the face of a timely challenge when the CO determines in writing that an award must be made to protect the public interest, is urgently required, or a prompt award will otherwise be advantageous to the Government.

(c) If a timely challenge on representation is filed with the CO and received before award in response to a specific offer and solicitation, the CO must notify eligible offerors within one day that the solicitation will not be awarded due to a pending challenge. The CO also may ask eligible offerors to extend the period for acceptance of their proposals.

(d) If a challenge on representation is filed with the CO and received after award in response to a specific offer and solicitation, the CO need not suspend contract performance or terminate the awarded contract unless the CO believes that an award may be invalidated and a delay would prejudice the Government's interest. However, if contract performance is to be suspended or terminated, a mutual no cost agreement will be sought.

1480.904 Challenge not timely.

If a CO receives an untimely filed challenge of a representation, the CO must notify the challenger that the challenge cannot be considered on the instant acquisition but will be considered in any future actions. However, the CO may question at any time, before or after award, the representation of an IEE.