By Lloyd Chapman
President, American Small Business League
On Monday, I filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in my case against the Small Business Administration (SBA). Frankly, I was surprised that recently appointed Federal District Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in favor of the SBA when it claimed that it did not have access to its own phone records.
Federal law stipulates that federal records must be released even though they are in the possession of a third party. The law also stipulates the federal government must release documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), unless it can provide a legal justification for withholding it.
I am supremely confident that the panel of Judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will not only rule unanimously in my favor, but I expect they will severely lambast the unfortunate individual representing the SBA. The last time I won a case in the Ninth Circuit Court, the judges were so outraged at the government attorney that the poor woman was in tears by the time she left the courtroom. I will never forget seeing the Pentagon's attorney walking out of the courtroom carrying a huge square briefcase and sobbing.
It doesn't surprise me that I have to actually go to federal appeals court to obtain the phone records of an SBA employee. I have won several legal battles under FOIA in and out of federal court with the SBA and other federal agencies. I can always tell how damaging the information I have requested is, based on how hard they fight to withhold it.
SBA press office staffer Mike Stamler's phone records would expose the unethical and likely illegal, inner workings of a federal agency that spends a tremendous amount of time and tax payer money trying to cover up billions of dollars in fraud and abuse against America's 27 million small businesses. Stamler's phone records will also provide clear evidence of the SBA's aggressive campaign to libel and slander me in an effort to prevent me from continuing to expose the truth about the SBA to Congress and the media.
Mr. Stamler is a prime example of everything the public does not want in a federal employee. Any journalist that has tried to tell the truth about the SBA's role in the diversion of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to corporate giants has a story to tell about Stamler. Stamler has earned a well deserved reputation as a foul mouthed blow-hard that tries to intimidate and harass journalists that stray from the SBA's conflicting excuses as to why Fortune 500 firms continue to receive billions of dollars in federal small business contracts year-after-year.
Over a dozen federal investigations since 2003 have described the diversion of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to some of the largest corporations 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) Hundreds of stories in the media have reported federal small business contracts that have actually gone to firms such as British Aerospace (BAE), Hewlett Packard, Home Depot, Microsoft, Xerox, Raytheon, Dell Computer, Rolls-Royce and thousands of other large firms.
The SBA continues to regurgitate its absurd excuses despite this overwhelming and incontrovertible volume of evidence. One such excuse is that Fortune 500 firms and thousands of the largest companies in the world have been put into the federal database of small businesses accidentally, everyday for the last decade. Next, they claim everyday since 2000; federal contracts to corporate giants around the world are reported as small business contracts accidentally through, "computer glitches" and "miscoding." The SBA has never been able to explain why all these random mistakes just happen to divert small business contracts to large businesses and never the other way around.
Their final excuse seems to contradict all the others. From time to time the agency rolls out its "Myth vs. Fact" excuse. The SBA periodically claims that it is a "myth" that large businesses receive federal small business contracts despite all the federal investigations and investigative stories to the contrary. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/sbamythvfact.pdf)
The fact that the SBA is willing to go to Federal Appeals Court to withhold Mike Stamler's phone records is a clear indication they are guilty of liable and slander against me. The fact that President Obama is willing to let this happen is also a clear indication his campaign promise of increased transparency in government is simply just another broken campaign promise.
I plan to intensify my campaign in the courts and the media to go after my opponents at the SBA and all the other con-men, liars, crooked politicians and sham small business groups that are responsible for cheating America's 27 million small businesses.
Cheating small business and attacking Lloyd Chapman and the American Small Business League (ASBL) is about to become a very unpleasant and expensive proposition.