April 15, 2010
On Wednesday, April 14, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Army under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The Army is refusing to release information regarding the compliance of its prime contractors with small business subcontracting goals. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/20100414_complaint_mantech.pdf)
The ASBL originally requested the most recent quarterly subcontracting reports for contracts awarded by the Army to ManTech Telecommunications. Prime contractors are required to produce subcontracting reports for each contract awarded by the federal government.
The ASBL maintains that the Pentagon's refusal to release information regarding prime contractor compliance with small business subcontracting goals is a further indication that the Pentagon is falsifying compliance with its small business contracting goals.
The Small Business Act requires that a minimum of 23 percent of the total value of all government contracts go to small businesses. The most recent information available indicates that the Obama Administration is diverting billions of dollars a month in government small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms like: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Dell Computer, British Aerospace (BAE), Rolls-Royce, French giant Thales Communications, Ssangyong Corporation headquartered in South Korea, and the Italian firm Finmeccanica SpA. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/20090825TopSmallBusinessContractors2008.pdf)
The ASBL maintains that the Pentagon's refusal to release this information is a clear indication that it has something to hide.
"The Obama Administration is withholding these subcontracting reports because it knows that these reports will show the federal government and prime contractors are falsifying their small business contracting numbers," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.
Despite promises of increased transparency, the Obama Administration is refusing to release a wide range of data on small business contracting programs such as: agency phone records, the actual names of the recipients of federal small business contracts, the specific names of federal contracting officials that have awarded small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms, the names of specific individuals at Fortune 500 firms that have misrepresented their firms status as a small business, and SBA bonus recipients.
Wednesday's action is the third lawsuit filed by the ASBL since late March. The ASBL's efforts to expose fraud and abuse in federal small business contracting programs have recently been chronicled by articles in the Washington Post, HispanicBusiness Magazine and Andrew Beitbart's BigGovernment.com. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/11/AR2010041103341.html; http://126.96.36.199/news/newsbyid.asp?idx=187049&page=1&cat=&more#; http://biggovernment.com/ldoan/2010/04/14/small-businesses-sue-government-goliath/)