The U.S. Department of Justice has been forced to pay the legal fees incurred by the American Small Business League (ASBL), after the ASBL substantially prevailed in a recent court case under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ASBL sued the Small Business Administration (SBA) after the agency refused to release the names of Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses that had received billions of dollars in federal small business contracts.
During the course of litigation, the SBA tried to claim that it had no information regarding the specific names of firms that had received federal small business contracts.
In the court's ruling, United States District Judge Marilyn H. Patel ruled in favor of the ASBL and stated, "The court finds it curious the SBA's argument that it does not 'control' the very information it needs to carry out its duties and functions." (www.asbl.com/documents/26-2.pdf)
The information the ASBL obtained through the litigation supported its assertion that billions of dollars a month in federal contracts earmarked for small businesses had been diverted to Fortune 500 firms such as: General Dynamics, Xerox, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, British Aerospace (BAE), Dell Computer and French giant Thales Communications. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/20090825TopSmallBusinessContractors2008.pdf)
Previously, the SBA claimed that it was a "myth" that large firms received federal small business contracts. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/sbamythvfact.pdf)
This spring, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear another case between the SBA and the ASBL in which the SBA is claiming that it does not have access to its own phone records. The ASBL requested the information under FOIA after several journalists complained that the SBA was aggressively contacting the media in an attempt to erode the credibility of the ASBL and myself.
The ASBL is preparing to file up to 10 federal lawsuits against the Obama Administration within the next 60 days. The Obama Administration is refusing to release a wide variety of data related to small business contracting issues such as: contracting officer information, phone records, the specific names of individuals within Fortune 500 firms that have claimed small business status, and the names of domestic and foreign owned companies that received federal small business contracts.
I think it is time for someone in the media to ask President Obama why his administration is giving small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and then refusing to release the data that proves it.
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