April 7, 2011
Petaluma, Calif. – On Wednesday, April 6, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) after the agency refused to release subcontracting reports on contracts awarded to Fortune 500 defense giant Raytheon. The ASBL filed suit in United States District Court, Northern District of California. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/complaint_raytheon_sub_report_dod.pdf)
The case was filed after DoD repeatedly refused to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to Raytheon’s compliance with small business subcontracting goals.
The ASBL believes the information contained in Raytheon’s subcontracting reports may show that the contractor is not complying with its congressionally mandated small business goals. Additionally, the ASBL is concerned the reports may indicate that Raytheon and DoD cooperated in an effort to circumvent federal law, which requires 23 percent of all federal contracts to be awarded to small businesses.
The ASBL’s most recent suit was filed in a continuing effort to gather information on a series of major government prime contractors, which may lead to litigation filed under the False Claims Act, and Section 16(d) of the Small Business Act.
Including Wednesday’s lawsuit, the Obama Administration has forced the ASBL to file 13 lawsuits in pursuit of publicly releasable documents regarding government contracting programs. In 1994, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that subcontracting reports are releasable to the public, and do not contain trade secret or proprietary information.
Despite continually promising the most transparent administration in history, the Obama Administration has actually been amongst the least transparent. In early 2010, the Associated Press conducted a review of FOIA reports filed by 17 major agencies, and found across the board increases in the number of rejections. While the federal government as a whole received fewer FOIA requests during the first year of the Obama Administration, agencies increasingly said “no” to requesters looking for public documents. (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9EFRPJG0)
“People in the main stream media seem to think stories about small business issues are not interesting to the public, but this is not just a small business story. This is a story about trillions of dollars in contracting fraud, bribery, and corruption in government. This is a story about how lobbying dollars dictate economic policy in America,” ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. “Our government is broken. How else could you explain $100 million an hour in small business contracts going to large businesses for over a decade?”