July 8, 2009
Petaluma, Calif. - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's executive director for the small and mid-market business councils, Giovanni Coratolo, twice failed to acknowledge whether the U.S. Chamber would support H.R. 2568, The Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act, during a recent widely publicized debate on CNBC with American Small Business League (ASBL) President Lloyd Chapman. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtLshGVEss)
H.R. 2568 is the only legislation written to stop the flow of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 companies and foreign-owned firms. The bill is co-authored by Mr. Chapman in collaboration with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Professor Charles Tiefer, America's foremost legal scholar on federal contracting and procurement issues. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2568)
In a June 18 blog on the U.S. Chamber's website, Coratolo stated, "We find it more beneficial for our members to actually work for good policies, not merely rail into the ether on the injustices of the world. As an example we worked with the [Small Business Administration] SBA on a regulation that became final last year that has had a major impact on large business government contracts being classified as small. The Chamber supported this regulation. Oddly enough, Mr. Chapman's organization did not." (http://www.chamberpost.com/2009/06/business-united-or-business-divided-whats-at-stake.html)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) regulation Coratolo referred to in his blog post actually allows large firms who are receiving federal small business contracts to be grandfathered into government small business contracting programs, and continue to receive small business contracts through the year 2012. As a result more than $100 billion a year in federal contracts will continue to flow into the hands of Fortune 500 corporations and other clearly large corporations around the world. (http://www.asbl.com/showmedia.php?id=539)
"It's a mistake to believe the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of small businesses. My goal is to expose the fact that the U.S. Chamber actually supports the interests of the Fortune 500 corporations who are currently abusing federal small business programs," Chapman said. "It is important to realize that 15 companies currently listed on the U.S. Chamber's board of directors are Fortune 500 corporations that have received billions of dollars in small business contracts every year. That's the real reason they refuse to back H.R. 2568."
Coratolo referred to the diversion of small business contracts to large corporations as an issue that affects, "only a small sliver of the business community." The U.S. Chamber has over 140,000 members that are affected by this issue. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtLshGVEss)