May 19, 2010
Petaluma, Calif. – On Tuesday, May 18, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the Navy in Federal District Court, Northern District of California. The case was filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after the Navy refused to release quarterly sub-contracting reports for contracts awarded to ManTech Systems Engineering. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/litigation/Case_12.pdf
This is the 5th lawsuit filed by the ASBL under FOIA since the beginning of April, and the organization's 12 lawsuit against the government since 2004. Through its legal efforts, the ASBL has forced the release of thousands of pages of documents proving that large corporations have received billions of dollars a year in federal small business contracts.
Since 2003, more than a dozen federal investigations have uncovered billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts actually flowing into the hands of Fortune 500 corporations and even some of the largest firms in Europe. Report 5-15, from the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General described this issue as, "One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today." (http://www.asbl.com/documents/05-15.pdf
The Small Business Act requires that a minimum of 23 percent of the total value of all government contracts go to small businesses. The Obama administration has failed to meet that goal. The most recent information available indicates that the administration is diverting federal 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 plans to file a series of federal lawsuits against the Obama Administration for refusing to release documents under FOIA. The ASBL maintains that despite claims of increased transparency, the Obama Administration is refusing to release a wide range of data on small business contracting programs such as: prime contractor compliance with small business subcontracting goals, the actual names of the recipients of federal small business contracts, and the specific names of federal contracting officials that have awarded small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms.
"The information that the Obama Administration is refusing to release shows that they are diverting federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. The fact that they are willing to go to federal court to withhold the data clearly shows that they have something damaging to hide. We will win like we always do," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.