The Bona Fide Needs Rule

In federal contracting, certain sections of The Government Accountability Office's Principles of Federal Appropriations Law (The Red Book) are used.  WIFCON.com has converted the often-used Bona Fide Needs Rule to .html, the language of the internet.  The document contains many links to GAO cases provided by GAO.

The Bona Fide Needs Rule published here is taken from the Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, Third Edition, Volume 1.  The latest update is included in this document. The document was converted in the following manner.  First the document was taken from .pdf format and converted to .html.  Second, the .html version was set up with the same paragraph structure as provided in The Red Book.  Third, hyperlinks were added. Fourth, the updates were added to the appropriate sections of the Bona Fide Needs Rule.  The page numbers in the left column are to the Red Book.  The "as of date" show when the update was made. 




The Red Book Principles of Federal Appropriations Law

The Red Book was first published in the early 1980s.  The documents were published with red covers and quickly became known as The Red Book. In publishing the document, GAO notes that its objective "is to present a basic reference work covering those areas of law in which the Comptroller General renders decisions." GAO's approach is to "lay a foundation with text discussion, using relevant authorities to illustrate the principles discussed, their application, and exceptions." 

Below are the current editions of each volume with the latest update.  The links will take you to a GAO cover page and you may decide if you want to download the massive volumes.  GAO provides a link for Red Book Queries

In March 2016, GAO began publishing its 4th Edition of the Red Book.  GAO explains the publication here.


Principles of Federal Appropriations Law: Fourth Edition
(March 10, 2016)

Chapter 1.  Introduction

Principles of Federal Appropriations Law: Fourth Edition
(March 10, 2016)

Chapter 2.  The Legal Framework

Principles of Federal Appropriations Law: Fourth Edition
2017 Revision

Chapter 3.  Availability of Appropriations: Purpose

Volume 1
(January 1, 2004, Third Edition)

Ch. 1:  Introduction.  (See above)
Ch. 2:  The Legal Framework.
  (See above)
Ch. 3:  Agency Regulations and Administrative Discretion.
Ch. 4:  Availability of Appropriations: Purpose:

Ch. 5:  Availability of Appropriations: Time:
          The Bona Fide Needs Rule

Volume II
(February 1, 2006, Third Edition)

Ch. 6:  Availability of Appropriations:  Amount.
Ch. 7:  Obligation of Appropriations.
Ch. 8:  Continuing Resolutions.
Ch. 9:  Liability and Relief of Accountable Officers.
Ch. 10:  Federal Assistance:  Grants and Cooperative Agreements.
Ch. 11:  Federal Assistance:  Guaranteed and Insured Loans.

Volume III
(September 1, 2008, Third Edition)

Ch. 12:  Acquisition of Goods and Services.
Ch. 13:  Real Property.
Ch. 14:  Claims Against and By The Government
Ch. 15:  Miscellaneous Topics

Index and Table of Authorities
(August 6, 2010, Third Edition)


Interactive Third Edition Volumes and Index/Table of Authorities


Annual Update of the Third Edition

GAO-15-303SP, March 12, 2015

New Antideficiency Act Reports

Fiscal Reports for FYs 2017 through 2007

(scroll down the link's page to find reports)

These documents are a summary of agency Antideficiency Act Reports by fiscal year.   They include unaudited information extracted from agency Antideficiency Act reports filed with GAO, as required by section 1401 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Pub. L. No. 108-447, 118 Stat. 2809, 3192 (Dec. 8, 2004).

Fiscal Law Tutorials

The Department of the Army provides a massive "Desk Book" and the Government Accountability Office provides its Fiscal Law training--for a price.

Appropriations Desk Book and GAO Training

The Judge Advocate General of the Army 2014 Fiscal law Deskbook  21 MB (pdf)

GAO Appropriations Law Training for 2016



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