By American Small Business League
June 11, 2012
The American Small Business League (ASBL) has filed suit against the Pentagon after the agency repeatedly refused to release small business subcontracting reports on federal contracts with Hewlett Packard.
The Pentagon claims that the subcontracting report requested by the ASBL can be withheld from the public “because it applies to information on trade secrets and commercial and financial information.”
However, in 1994, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that subcontracting reports are releasable to the public and do not contain trade secrets or proprietary information.
In the ASBL’s complaint for injunctive relief, ASBL attorney Robert Belshaw states that, “ASBL has a right of access to the documents requested pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3), and there is no legal basis for DoD’s denial of such access. Accordingly, the ASBL seeks an order from this court compelling DoD to provide the requested information.”
Over the past decade, the ASBL has won more than 20 similar lawsuits against federal agencies. With each successful lawsuit, the ASBL has compelled the release of contracting and subcontracting reports to prove that prime contractors and federal contracting officials are falsifying federal small business contracting data.
During his 2008 campaign President Obama promised to have the most transparent administration in history; however, what we are seeing is just the opposite. In 2010, the Associated Press conducted a review of FOIA reports filed by 17 major agencies, and found across-the-board increases in the number of rejections. While the federal government as a whole received fewer FOIA requests during the first year of the Obama Administration, agencies increasingly said “no” to requesters looking for public documents.
“This is just another attempt by the Obama administration to hide the fact that they are lying to the public and misleading Congress about the true percentage of federal contract dollars awarded to small businesses,” ASBL President and founder Lloyd Chapman said. “I am confident that the documents we requested will further prove that corporate giants are receiving billions a month in federal small business contracts— and the fact that we must take the Pentagon to court should be an indication of how damaging the information is.”