Yesterday, I posted an article to the Huffington Post titled, "Fortune 500 Firms Masquerade as Small Business Lobby." This morning both the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA) fired back angry responses.
Let's look at the facts.
In its response, the USWCC claimed to be, "non-captive shunning all external influences," and "pure as fresh, white snow as it hits the ground." If the USWCC doesn't take money from big businesses, I applaud them. However, their website does state, "USWCC partners include associations, educational providers, governments and government agencies, corporations and other advocates." (http://www.uswcc.org/html/uswcc-partners.aspx) The USWCC's website also mentions that the U.S. Army and HQ Global are two of its national partners. HQ Global is a member of the Regus Group, which is headquartered in England and reported sales in excess of $1.5 billion during fiscal year (FY) 2008. Clearly the chamber's statement that it is, "non-captive shunning all external influences," and "pure as fresh, white snow as it hits the ground," appears to be inconsistent with information on its own website.
In my piece, I said that the USWCC has done nothing to address the diversion of billions of dollars a year in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. In Report 5-15, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG) referred to this issue as, "One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today." Reference to this issue is conspicuously absent from the USWCC website. The USWCC didn't fire back an angry comment pointing us to links of the USWCC on national television complaining about it, stories about the issue bolstered by the USWCC in the biggest newspapers in the country, or legislation written by the USWCC about it. We didn't get those things, because they do not have them. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/05-15.pdf)
The NSBA was also angry and said my comments were "irrefutably false and bordering on libelous."
Here are the facts.
The NSBA's website has Sprint listed as its featured platinum sponsor. Sprint is a Fortune 500 corporation that has been exposed as a recipient of federal small business contracts. The NSBA was unable to demonstrate that they have done anything to address the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. (http://www.nsba.biz/sponsorship.html)
So my response to both the USWCC and the NSBA is the same as the challenge I offered to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, "put up or shut up." Show me any evidence that you have done anything of any kind to bring and end to the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants. Let's see the successful lawsuits that you have won. Show me your national television appearances calling for an end to this problem. Show me the newspaper stories you have landed in the largest newspapers in the country. Show me your legislation that has been introduced into congress to address the issue. Roll it out, for everyone to see. Of course, as you and I both know, you don't have anything.
The American Small Business League (ASBL) has done more to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms than every other so-called small business group in the nation combined. Our bill, H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act of 2009 is just the latest example of our unrelenting efforts to bring an end to a problem that has damaged too many small businesses for too long.