The American Small Business League (ASBL) has uncovered an extensive campaign by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to impugn the organization's credibility and defame its President, Lloyd Chapman.
A number of journalists have informed the ASBL that after quoting Chapman in stories on the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms, they received aggressive phone calls and e-mails from the Director of the SBA's Press Office, Mike Stamler attempting to discredit Chapman and the ASBL.
In one case, after quoting Chapman in a story, the Long Island Business Journal (LIBJ) received a series of aggressive correspondence from Stamler, which was so profane in nature that editors of the paper responded by publishing a blog entitled, "Expletives the SBA's Forte." (http://libizblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/expletives-the-sbas-forte/)
The ASBL has responded to the SBA's actions by using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request all e-mail correspondence to and from Mike Stamler during the years 2006 and 2007.
Although the SBA has refused to release all of Stamler's correspondence, the SBA has released some correspondence, which clearly demonstrates a pattern of libelous communication between Stamler and journalists regarding Chapman. The emails went as far as to attack the credibility of the ASBL's contracting data, which actually was data the SBA was forced to release to ASBL after losing four FOIA lawsuits to them.
In one example, Stamler sent an e-mail to reporter, Angus Loten from Inc. Magazine, which refers to Chapman as a "lunatic."
The ASBL believes Stamler's libelous e-mail campaign was an attempt by the SBA to conduct damage control after losing four federal FOIA lawsuits to the ASBL. The information the ASBL obtained by suing the SBA under the Freedom of Information Act proved the SBA reported billions of dollars in federal contracts to Fortune 500 firms as small business awards.
Since 2003, more than a dozen federal and private investigations have all found the SBA inflated the Bush Administration's small business contracting numbers by including billions of dollars in awards to hundreds of the largest corporations in the country. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/keystatements.html)
As recently as July 1st, the Department of Interior Office of Inspector General released a report stating that the DOI had reported contracts to firms such as Dell, Home Depot, John Deere, Sherwin Williams, Xerox, Starwood Hotels, McGraw-Hill, World Wide Technology and GTSI as small business awards. These awards inflated the DOI's and the federal government's compliance with their small business goals. (http://www.doioig.gov/upload/2008-G-0024.pdf)
In response to overwhelming evidence that the Bush Administration has diverted hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to some of the largest corporations in the United States and Europe, the SBA has released a series of press releases claiming it is a "myth" that large businesses receive federal small business contracts. (http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/news_07-30.pdf)
The ASBL has filed an appeal to its FOIA request for all of Mike Stamler's e-mails from 2006 and 2007. If its appeal is denied, the ASBL will file suit against the SBA in Federal District Court, Northern District of California located in San Francisco in order to force the SBA to release all of Stamler's correspondence.
Based on the information we have received so far, we may have enough evidence to file suit against Mike Stamler and the SBA for libel, slander and defamation of character.