The General Services Administration (GSA) is refusing to release the names of the firms that received federal small business contracts under the classifications, “miscellaneous foreign contractors,” and “classified domestic contractor.”
The American Small Business League (ASBL) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the GSA seeking the specific names of all the firms included in the two classifications titled, “miscellaneous foreign contractors,” and “classified domestic contractor.” The GSA declined the ASBL’s initial request for the information. The ASBL appealed the GSA’s initial refusal to provide the information, and it too was declined. The ASBL plans to file suit against the GSA in Federal District Court, Northern District of California before the end of August.
Since 2003, a series of federal investigations have been released which found that billions of dollars in federal small business contracts have been diverted to Fortune 500 firms and thousands of other large businesses. In 2005, the Small Business Administration Office of inspector General (SBA OIG) referred to the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants 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)
Several of the government’s investigations were prompted by information provided by ASBL President, Lloyd Chapman. (http://washingtontechnology.com/Articles/2003/02/20/Smallbusiness-deals-under-investigation.aspx?Page=1)
In February of 2008, President Obama recognized the significant damage this issue has caused to American small businesses when he stated, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.” (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
The ASBL believes the firms included in “miscellaneous foreign contractors,” and “classified domestic contractors,” are large businesses from the United States and Europe. Investigative reports by CNN, ABC and CBS have revealed that firms such as British Aerospace (BAE), Rolls-Royce, Xerox, Dell Computer, John Deere, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, L-3 Communications, Titan Industries and Dutch giant Buhrmann NV have all received federal small business contracts.
In addition to its suit against the GSA, the ASBL will also be appealing a case against the SBA to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Federal Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in favor of the SBA when they refused to comply with a FOIA request from the ASBL for the phone records of SBA staffer Mike Stamler. The SBA claimed not to have access to any of the agency’s phone records.
The ASBL has won a series of FOIA cases against the federal government, which have exposed thousands of pages of documents proving that large corporations are the actual recipients of federal small business contracts.
American Small Business League