Mainstream Media Could Save Thousands of Small Businesses With One Question For Obama and McCain
Thousands of small businesses around the country could be saved from bankruptcy if just one mainstream journalist would ask Senator Barack Obama (D - IL) or Senator John McCain (R - AZ) this one question, "If you were elected President, would you allow Fortune 500 firms to continue to receive billions of dollars in federal small business contracts?"
In March of 2005, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG) released the results of an extensive investigation into Bush Administration policies that have diverted billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. Report 5-15 states:
"One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the entire Federal Government today is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards." (http://www.sba.gov/IG/05-15.pdf)
Report 5-15 is one of more than a dozen federal investigations that have found fraud and a multitude of other abuses in federal small business contracting programs.
These investigations have been coming out for more than five years now. This summer the Department of the Interior (DOI) OIG looked at .03 percent of DOI's contracts and found more than a dozen ineligible large businesses had received over $5.7 million in DOI small business contracts. What would they find if they looked at the other 99.7 percent? What would we find if we looked at 100 percent of the Defense Department's contracts?
Four federal officials have expressed to me that between $65 and $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts actually go to large businesses. I have seen more data on this than anyone in the country and I think they're right. That means by the time Bush leaves office, small businesses will have been cheated out of $800 billion in federal contracts.
The Bush Administration claims that the problem is caused by honest mistakes and miscoding errors on the part of contracting officials. They say federal contracting officials are confused and accidentally report contracts to firms like AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Home Depot, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Rolls-Royce as small business contracts. The Bush Administration has been using that same ridiculous excuse for six consecutive years.
Why is the pattern of miscoding and data entry errors always inflating the Bush Administration's small business contracting statistics and diverting government small business contracts to big businesses? This pattern is not random, so it must be intentional.
So far, not a single journalist has even asked Senator Obama or Senator McCain about this serious problem. One question to the Senators could help bring attention to this important issue and potentially redirect billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to legitimate American small businesses.