Can Legitimate Small Business Groups be Funded by Fortune 500 Firms?
By Lloyd Chapman
President, American Small Business League
Can an organization claim to represent the interests of small businesses and never lift a finger to stop the most highly publicized issue affecting small businesses for the last eight years? Can an organization funded by Fortune 500 firms truly represent small businesses?
In 2002, I convinced the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch the first federal investigation into the diversion of federal small business contracts to large corporations. In February of 2003, David Cooper, Director of GAO's Acquisition and Sourcing Management Office, told Washington Technology magazine that the GAO launched its investigation based on "information Chapman provided." (http://washingtontechnology.com/Articles/2003/02/20/Smallbusiness-deals-under-investigation.aspx?Page=1)
That first GAO investigation has prompted over a dozen other federal investigations and private studies into the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
In 2005, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG) released Report 5-15, which assessed the magnitude of the widespread fraud and abuses in federal small business contracting programs. Report 5-15 described the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to many of the largest companies in the world as, "One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today." (http://www.asbl.com/documents/05-15.pdf)
Since the results of that first GAO investigation were released in May of 2003, over 500 stories in the media have covered the issue. Every major newspaper in the country has reported on the problem. Dozens of magazine articles have covered it. It has been on every major television network, including: ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and CNBC. Finally, the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants has been discussed in more than 400 radio interviews by the American Small Business League (ASBL) staff.
Over a dozen federal investigations, more than 500 stories in the media over eight years, and over $100 billion a year diverted from small businesses and firms owned by women and minorities; surely any group that claims to represent small businesses, women or minorities must have done something to address a problem of this magnitude.
I challenge anyone to even find this issue mentioned anywhere on the websites of any so-called small business organization. Try and find any evidence of any effort to halt the fraud and abuse against legitimate small businesses. Virtually every national organization that claims to represent small businesses is actually funded by the very Fortune 500 firms that have hijacked hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts. Now that is a staggering conflict of interest. Many of these Fortune 500 firms have even lobbied to close the SBA and end all federal programs to assist small businesses and firms owned by women, minorities and veterans.
Some of these sham groups will attempt to tell us that their members don't care about this issue. Quite the contrary, try and find a single legitimate small business in America that thinks Fortune 500 firms should receive federal small business contracts.
Here's the truth; the ASBL is the only national organization that has fought to bring an end to the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and hundreds of other large businesses. The ASBL is the only national small business group that does not take money from Fortune 500 firms or big businesses. We only fight for small businesses.
We provided the information that prompted the investigations. We filed the lawsuits that forced the release of thousands of pages of government data proving that Fortune 500 firms have received billions of dollars in federal small business contracts. We prompted the overwhelming majority of stories in the media on this issue. We have fought the SBA, the White House, the Pentagon and Congress as they have refused to adopt legislation and policy to halt the rampant abuses. And now we are the only small business organization in America that has successfully had legislation introduced into Congress to finally halt the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants. The passage of H.R. 2568, the Fairness and transparency in Contracting Act will bring an end to years of fraud, abuse and loopholes in federal small business contracting programs.
The passage of H.R. 2568 will also redirect over $100 billion a year in current federal infrastructure spending back to the 27 million small businesses where most Americans work. These firms are responsible for 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and over 95 percent of all net new jobs in America.
Don't be fooled anymore, if you want to discover who the real small business advocates are in America, look to see who funds these groups and ask who has fought to end the most widely publicized and investigated abuses against small businesses in the last decade.
If you are a small business owner, after you have discovered who the real small business advocates are, join them in their fight for American small businesses. www.asbl.com