A recent federal appeals court ruling does not serve
the interests of transparency in small business federal contracting, according
to a public interest watchdog group. The ruling “dealt a blow to the causes of
open government and contracting transparency,” Neil Gordon, investigator for
the Project on Government Oversight, wrote about the decision. The U.S. Court
of Appeals for the 9th Circuit judged that the Defense Dept. does not have to
disclose Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s small business subcontracting plan for its
DOD contracts under the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. Under
the test program, Sikorsky and others may file a single plan outlining
subcontracting payments to small firms for all their DOD contracts, rather than
filing such plans for each contract. The case started in 2013 with a Freedom of
Information Act request by the American Small Business League, run by Lloyd
Chapman. While a lower court supported ASBL’s request, the case was appealed.
The lawsuit shines a light into the test program, a
pilot program since 1990. ASBL and other critics say it has not shown results.
Nonetheless, Congress recently renewed it until 2027. The 9th circuit ruled
that some of Sikorsky’s information--including “the names of Sikorsky’s
subcontractors, the type and dollar amount of the goods and services
subcontracted by Sikorsky, details about the company’s subcontracting process
and organizational structure” falls under a FOIA exemption for trade secrets
and commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential.
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story, click here: http://www.asbl.com/media/03-03-17%20Set-Aside%20Alert%20Highlighted.pdf