United States District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong has denied a motion put forth by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the agency by the American Small Business League (ASBL). The ASBL is pursuing information on potentially damaging public relations contracts awarded by the agency to APCO Worldwide Inc., a large public relations firm specializing in crisis management.
The ASBL suspects the 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. The ASBL believes the SBA may have launched a massive campaign to cover-up the diversion of federal small business contracts to large businesses, and to discourage the media from covering the issue.
In one case, the SBA paid $30,000 for a one-day meeting with APCO executives. The SBA is refusing to release the complete details of the contract. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/APCO_SBA_Contract.pdf)
Since 2003, more than a dozen federal investigations have uncovered billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts to corporate giants. In Report 5-15, the SBA’s own office of inspector general referred to the 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)
In Report 5-16 from March of 2005, the SBA IG reported that large businesses had committed fraud by misrepresenting themselves as small businesses through “false certifications,” and “improper certifications.” Another investigation from the SBA Office of Advocacy found large businesses had received federal small business contracts fraudulently through what they referred to as “vendor deception.”
In recent years, the SBA has claimed the diversion of federal small business contracts to large corporations is the result of harmless "miscoding." In May of 2007, the SBA even went as far as to claim that it was a "myth" that large corporations received federal small business contracts. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/sbamythvfact.pdf)
“I think it is very telling that the SBA has a PR contract with an international public relations firm that specializes in crisis management. The fact that they are withholding information on that contract is even more suspicious,” ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.