By Doug Caldwell
Central Valley Business Times
May 18, 2011
• Won’t hear appeal in phone records case
• ‘We’ll continue to pursue this information until it is public’
Records of telephone calls by the public relations chief of the Small Business Administration, which the SBA moved into the control of an outside company, will remain secret.
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal by the American Small Business League which has been trying to pry the records loose under the Freedom of Information Act.
The ASBL filed a petition to the high court in January after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the SBA was not required to disclose phone records held by a third party.
The small business advocacy group originally filed suit against the SBA after the agency refused to provide several years of telephone records for the agency’s press office director, Michael Stamler.
"The fact that the SBA was willing to go to the Supreme Court to withhold Mike Stamler's phone records shows just how damaging that information must be," says Lloyd Chapman, president of the Petaluma-based ASBL. "The SBA has played a pivotal role in allowing billions of dollars in fraud. We’ll continue to pursue this information until it is public and transparent."
The ASBL requested Mr. Stamler's phone records after a media professionals said he might have defamed Mr. Chapman, and deny the diversion of small business contracts to large corporates.
Throughout the course of litigation, the SBA has claimed that it does not have access to its own phone records, and is not required to supply that information under FOIA.