November 1, 2010
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is being sued by the American Small Business League (ASBL) for refusing to release subcontracting reports on contracts awarded to defense giant Boeing. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/Complaint_47KB_Boeing.pdf)
The ASBL filed suit in United States District Court, Northern District of California on Tuesday, October 26. The case was filed after DHS repeatedly refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Individual Subcontracting Reports (ISR) and Summary Subcontracting Reports (SSR) on a prime contract awarded to Boeing.
The ASBL believes the information contained in the reports may show that Boeing and the DHS cooperated in an effort to circumvent federal law, which requires 23 percent of all federal contracts to be awarded to small businesses. The ASBL is gathering information on several major government prime contractors in preparation for litigation that may include cases filed under the False Claims Act, and Section 16(d) of the Small Business Act.
In 1992, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that subcontracting reports are releasable to the public, and do not contain trade secret or proprietary information.
“It is really kind of silly that we are having to file this suit because the 9th Circuit ruled over 20 years ago that this information is releasable. The fact that DHS is willing to get involved with a lawsuit they have no hope of winning, really speaks to the damaging nature of this information,” ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.
The ASBL has won a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases against the federal government. Some of the information obtained by the ASBL indicates the federal government diverted small business contracts to Boeing and hundreds of other Fortune 1000 firms. The Obama Administration is currently awarding small business contracts to firms such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, British Aerospace (BAE), Northrop Grumman, and Dell Computer. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
To date, the ASBL has six outstanding lawsuits in the federal court system and plans to file a series of additional lawsuits before the end of the year.