September 17, 2010
Petaluma, Calif. – Neither the Obama Administration’s Jobs Bill nor the recommendations released on Wednesday by President Obama’s Small Business Task force contain any language that will stop the federal government from giving billions of dollars a month in small business contracts to Fortune 1000 firms.
During his campaign, President Obama promised to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 1000 firms and stated, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have found corporate giants from around the world as the actual recipients of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts.
Some of the firms that have received government small business contracts include: Rolls-Royce, British Aerospace (BAE), Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, SAIC, Titan Industries, Raytheon, Dell Computer, Xerox, French firm Thales Communications, Italian firm Finmeccanica SpA, and Ssangyong Corporation headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Textron, a Fortune 500 firm, received over $775 million in federal small business contracts in a single year.
In 2005, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA IG) referred to the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants 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)
In Report 5-16, the SBA IG found large businesses had received federal small business contracts illegally by making “false certifications” and “improper certifications.” The SBA Office of Advocacy found large businesses had received small business contracts illegally through “vendor deception.” (http://www.asbl.com/documents/05-16.pdf)
Section 16(d) of the Small Business Act prescribes a penalty of up to ten years in prison for firms that misrepresent themselves as small businesses to illegally receive federal small business contracts.
As opposed to offering legislation and policy that will end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants, language in the “jobs bill” could actually protect large businesses that misrepresent themselves to illegally receive federal small business contracts.
Section 1341, paragraph 4 of H.R. 5297, Small Business Jobs Act, creates a legal loophole that could allow fraudulent firms to avoid prosecution and penalties by claiming they received federal small business contracts through, “unintentional errors, technical malfunctions, and other similar situations.”
If the bill becomes law the American Small Business League (ASBL) plans to challenge the language in section 1341 in federal court.