Pentagon 9th Circuit Case Weighs Privacy VS Transparency
ASBL Ninth Circuit Case Against Pentagon
By Lloyd Chapman
The American Small Business League
December 20, 2016
PETALUMA, CA--(Marketwired - December 20,2016) - The San Francisco 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the American SmallBusiness League's (ASBL) Freedom OfInformation Act Request (FOIA) case against the Pentagon on December 14, 2016.The hearing was held following the Pentagon's appeal to overturn the rulingthat they disclose Sikorsky Aviation Corporation's most recent subcontractingplan submitted to the Pentagon's Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program(CSPTP).
The ASBL originally won their FOIA caseagainst the Pentagon in Novemberof 2014. Federal District Court Judge William Alsup in San Franciscoordered the Pentagon to release the Sikorsky data to the ASBL after reviewing the information anddeducing nothing in thereport constituted as trade secret, proprietary or confidential financialinformation.
The ASBL believes the CSPTP has allowed thePentagon's largest prime contractors to circumvent small businesssubcontracting goals by eliminating all transparency and penalties fornon-compliance. Professor Charles Tiefer, a leading expert on federalcontracting law, has written a legalopinion agreeing with the ASBL, calling the CSPTP a "sham"and "seriously harmful" to small businesses.
In his ruling, Judge Alsup described the ASBLas beingan underdog in a David and Goliath battle against the "bigcompany" and against the "big government." He also accused thePentagon of "coveringit up" in reference to the information the ASBL requested. In a subsequenthearing, Judge Alsup accused the Pentagon and Sikorsky of trying to "suppressthe evidence."
During the District Court case, Judge Alsupinstructed the Pentagon and Sikorsky on two separate occasions to "highlightthe parts that are supposedly confidential" or that they believed wereproprietary and explain why they believed the information should be exempt. ThePentagon declined to comply with Judge Alsup's request.
Despite the fact that the Pentagon andSikorsky never complied with Judge Alsup's order to make evidence available toestablish the validity of their claims, Sikorsky continued to argue during theDecember 14th hearing that a detailed disclosure of their small businessrecruiting program and subcontracting reports would put them at a disadvantageto competitors.
Speaking to the Pentagon regarding their lackof cooperation with the Court, Judge Norman Randy Smith stated "You didn't try, you justsent what you wanted."
Regarding Sikorsky's position ASBL President Lloyd Chapman had this tosay:
"Sikorsky's assertion that the public'sright to know how trillions of tax dollars have been spent over the last 27years is outweighed by concern that a competitor might use the details of theirsmall business recruiting program is laughable."
To view the full press release, click here: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/pentagon-sikorsky-9th-circuit-case-weighs-privacy-vs-transparency-2184482.htm