October 26, 2010
The American Small Business League last week said it plans to sue the Pentagon to force it to release information on a program intended to steer more contracts to small-business subcontractors.
The Defense Department has ignored numerous Freedom of Information Act requests and refused to release information on the participation of large prime contractors in the 20-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program, ASBL said. The group believes Defense has used the program, which eliminated penalties for breaking small-business subcontracting goals, to allow prime contractors to circumvent federal law requiring 23 percent of contracts to be awarded to small businesses.
The program also eliminated reports that made subcontracting data available to the public, ABSL said.
The 2011 defense authorization bill would renew the subcontracting program. But ASBL said ending it would provide $100 billion to small businesses over the next five years.
"This program needs to be abolished," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. "Ending this fraud and abuse would direct billions of dollars a year in federal spending to our nation's middle class and create thousands of jobs."