March 15, 2011
Petaluma, Calif. – Consistently since his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama has promised to maintain the most transparent administration in history. Yet, today the Associated Press (AP) announced that for the second consecutive year the Obama Administration failed to honor its promise, and actually reduced the transparency of government documents.
“I'll make our government open and transparent so that anyone can ensure that our business is the people's business,” President Obama stated in 2008 campaign speech. “No more secrecy. That is a commitment that I make to you as president.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5t8GdxFYBU)
Despite espousing open government and transparency in campaign speeches, and more recently in a Presidential Memorandum, during the last year the Obama Administration increasingly said no to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). During the last year, the federal government’s 35 largest agencies received more requests under FOIA, but decreased their actual fulfillment by more than 12,400 over the previous year, according to the AP. (http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/03/14/general-us-sunshine-week-foia_8355072.html)
The American Small Business League (ASBL) has experienced this reduction of transparency first-hand. Over the past two years, the ASBL has been forced to file 10 lawsuits in federal district court as a result of government refusal to release a wide variety of documents related to government contracting programs. The ASBL will continue to file lawsuits against the Obama Administration as it continues to withhold records from the public.
As an organization, the ASBL’s primary objective is to stop the diversion of as much as $200 billion a year in small business contracts to corporate giants. Since 2003, a series of federal investigations have uncovered billions of dollars a month in small business contracts to Fortune 500 corporations and other large businesses. Recent Obama Administration contracting data shows small business contracts went to corporate giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. (www.asbl.com/documents/ASBL_2009_dataanalysis.pdf)
“I endorsed President Obama, and I campaigned for him, but he has broken nearly every promise he’s made to the American people. To make matters worse, the lack of transparency in the Obama Administration seems to be a clear indication they’ve got something to hide,” ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. “This is not a transparent administration. This is not a pro-small business administration. It’s time for the American people to stop listening to the Obama Administration’s rhetoric, and start holding it accountable for its actions.”