SBA Goes to Federal Court of Appeals to Withhold Phone Records
August 11, 2009
Petaluma, Calif. - On Monday, August 10, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding its lawsuit against the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the release of SBA executive Mike Stamler's phone records. The ASBL originally filed suit for Stamler's phone records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after the SBA claimed that it did not have them. (https://www.asbl.com/documents/20090810notice_appeal_endorsed.pdf)
The ASBL filed suit in Federal District Court, Northern District of California in March of 2009. At the time, former U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen ruled in favor of the SBA, supporting its claim that it does not have access to its own phone records. ASBL originally requested Stamler's phone records after several journalists told the organization that Stamler had libeled and slandered the ASBL and its President Lloyd Chapman.
In one instance, the Long Island Business Journal (LIBJ) received an angry profanity ridden email from Stamler after the publication quoted Chapman in a story about the launching of a government website. LIBJ's staff responded by issuing a blog titled, "Expletives the SBA's forte?" (http://libn.com/libizblog/2008/02/22/expletives-the-sbas-forte/)
"I am confident that we will prevail in this case. Ultimately, we have never lost a case against the SBA or any other federal agency, and I think it is almost laughable that the SBA will go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to convince the court that they don't have access to their own phone records," Chapman said. "This is a perfect example of what we have seen from the SBA for years. Anytime you want to look at what they're doing, you have to go to federal court to get it. Clearly they have something to hide."
The ASBL has won a series of federal lawsuits against the SBA, and other federal agencies, which have forced the release of thousands of pages of documents, further exposing the diversion of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts to corporate giants.