April 21, 2010
The American Small Business League plans a series of lawsuits aimed at prying loose information about large corporations that are receiving small business contracts.
“A lot of this information is being withheld by the government when it should be public record,” said Chris Gunn, a spokesman for the League.
The first lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, seeks to require GSA to continue reporting the names of contractors receiving set-aside contracts. The League says GSA plans to drop that information from the Federal Procurement Data System, deleting 10 years of data and making it impossible to track violations.
A judge is scheduled to rule by the end of the month on ASBL’s request for a preliminary injunction.
The second action, also filed in Northern California, asks that SBA be required to release details of its public relations contracts. The League believes the contract documents will show that “SBA has spent American tax dollars to hire consultants to help them obscure the SBA’s role in diverting billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses around the world.”
Gunn said approximately 10 other suits are in the works, seeking information about such things as prime contractors’ performance in meeting subcontracting goals and the names of contractors doing classified work.
The Small Business League’s president, Lloyd Chapman, has charged for years that large corporations were masquerading as small ones to qualify for set-aside contracts. Several federal investigations have found that many contracts intended for small businesses had gone to large companies, but SBA has blamed the discrepancies on data-entry errors or the acquisition of small contractors by large ones.
Gunn said the League believes the lawsuits could yield information documenting “the government’s efforts to cover those abuses up.”