Bad News for Lawyers: GAO Won’t Handle Protests During the Shutdown

The vast majority of the watchdog's personnel have been furloughed.

The “vast majority” of its personnel cannot work during the government shutdown, the Government Accountabilty Office said on its website, noting that this includes staff in its bid protest office.

The GAO Office of General Counsel determined that the bid protest office must close for the duration of the shutdown. “There will be no personnel monitoring protest filings at GAO during the time our office is closed,” GAO noted.

Any new protest received while GAO is closed will be treated as filed on the day that GAO resumes operations. Any deadline for an agency filing -- such as an agency report or other filing requested by GAO -- may, upon request, be extended by up to one day for each day that GAO is closed.

Any deadline for a protest filing from a private party that falls on a day that GAO is closed is extended to the first day GAO resumes operations. This extension operates in the same manner as when a deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday.

The mail room is also closed during the shutdown, and the email address will be the only method by which the agency will receive filings during the shutdown.

Since lawyering is a key component of Washington business, a protest hiatus could have a real economic impact.