FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2009
Petaluma, Calif. - The California Chamber of Commerce has expressed opposition to legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act. H.R. 2568 is the only legislation written to stop the flow of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 companies and foreign-owned firms. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2568)
When asked for an explanation of its opposition, the California Chamber could not cite any specific reason as to why it would not support H.R. 2568, which would greatly help California's 3.5 million small businesses.
Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have shown rampant fraud and abuse in federal small business contracting programs, which have allowed over $100 billion a year in small business contracts to go to some of the largest firms in the United States and Europe. Based on those investigations and independent research, the American Small Business League (ASBL) estimates that H.R. 2568 will create an estimated 400,000 new jobs and bring an additional $10 billion a year in federal small business contracts into California.
The Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act was originally drafted by Lloyd Chapman, President of the California-based ASBL, in collaboration with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Professor Charles Tiefer, America's foremost legal scholar on federal contracting and procurement issues.
The California Chamber's close ties to Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may have influenced its decision to oppose H.R. 2568. Research conducted by the ASBL shows that 10 members of the California Chamber's Board of Directors are Fortune 500 companies, which have received billions of dollars in federal small business contracts. Those firms include such corporate giants as SAIC, Microsoft, Siemens, Northrop-Grumman, KPMG, and Lockheed Martin. (http://www.calchamber.com/AboutUs/Pages/BoardofDirectors.aspx)
The California Chamber seems to be following the lead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which indicated it would also oppose the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act. Additional research also shows that 15 members of U.S. Chamber's Board of Directors are Fortune 500 companies that have received billions of dollars in federal small business contracts. (http://www.uschamber.com/about/board/all.htm)
"With California in the grips of a financial meltdown and budget crisis, I find it amazing that the California Chamber would oppose a bill that will create 400,000 new jobs and bring an additional $10 billion a year into the hands of California small businesses," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said. "I guess the chambers loyalties to its Fortune 500 members trump the best interests for the State of California."