By Doug Caldwell
Central Valley Business Times
April 21, 2011
• Says Interior won’t disclose names of those involved in contracting abuses
• ‘They need to be prosecuted for their actions’
The U.S. Department of Interior is the latest target of the American Small Business League in its effort to pry open public files that the government is trying to keep secret.
It’s the 15th such lawsuit filed recently by ASBL over Freedom of Information Act requests for public information.
The ASBL was forced to file suit after the agency refused to release information on contracting officers referenced in a July 2008 Inspector General report titled, “Interior Misstated Achievement of Small business Goals by Including Fortune 500 Companies,” the Petaluma-based organization says.
The investigation found millions of dollars in contracts reported as going to small businesses actually wound up in the hands of some of the largest corporations in country. Additionally, the report found that contracting officers intentionally falsified information entered into the Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation as a means of inflating the DOI's small business contracting statistics.
“According to the DOI Inspector General these people knowingly, willfully and intentionally reported awards to corporate giants as small business awards. They need to be prosecuted for their actions,” says ASBL President Lloyd Chapman.
“We do not believe it is reasonable for the federal government to withhold vital information on the volume of federal contracts flowing to small businesses,” a spokesman for ASBL adds.
The ASBL maintains that contracting officers who intentionally misrepresent large businesses as small should be prosecuted, and held accountable for their actions.