by JD Palmer and Hardy Stone
Working with Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), a Congressionally chartered Veteran Service Organization (VSO), VetLikeMe submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to VA seeking Rule of Two documentation for VA awards to non-verified businesses. VA responded that from June 16, 2016 through our request date in November that more than 35,000 contracts awards met our FOIA criteria of more than $150K to non-verified firms. That is a significant portion of VA’s budget going to non-verified firms.
So far, we have received several hundred VA Form 2268 documents. That is a very small percentage of the more than 35,000, but enough to begin to see that the “Rule of Two” market research processes, documentation, rational and decisions are, at best, inconsistent.
What we are finding
- Contracting officers appear to be consistently performing and documenting Rule of Two market research but the process appears to be a check the box activity, not a decision aid;
- Processes and documentation varied significantly;
- Access to authoritative copies of documents (Form 2268 and supporting documentation) varied. Some appeared to be simple electronic retrieval. Most appeared to be labor-intensive manual search and copy;
- Redaction of initial responses from VA and subsequent discussions created an appearance that VA is performing source selection activities using RFIs and sources sought.
We continue to review the Form 2268 documents as they are delivered.