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Small business advocate sues SBA for withholding contracting data

By ELISE CASTELLI
Federal Times
December 2, 7600

A small business association is suing the Small Business Administration for refusing to release the names of big businesses that received federal contracts intended for small businesses in 2005 and 2006.
The American Small Business League filed its suit in the U.S. District Court for Northern California on Wednesday. The lawsuit claims SBA violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to release the names of Fortune 1,000 firms that were counted as small businesses.
News reports have shown giant corporations like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Rolls-Royce have received small business contracting dollars after purchasing small firms with pre-existing government contracts. Until the rules changed in June, those firms were not required to change the status of those subsidiaries, meaning agencies could still count money spent on those contracts toward their goals to award 23 percent of contract dollars to small businesses.
“I want people to know that when the government diverts $100 billion a year in contracts from middle-class America, there is a staggering negative economic impact,” said Lloyd Chapman, American Small Business League president.

In refusing Chapman’s FOIA request for the names last year, SBA told him the information was not available because it wasn’t tracked in that way. However, in November SBA put out a list of the top 100 contractors getting small business dollars, which flagged large businesses on the list.
SBA spokesman Michael Stamler said he was not aware of the lawsuit, but that the information the organization is seeking is available on two public Web sites: www.fpds.gov and USASpending.gov.
In court documents, the American Small Business League said the Web sites were inadequate because they do not identify the specific contracts SBA used to compile either its top 100 list or annual small business goaling reports.
The association said it intends to file similar lawsuits against the General Services Administration and the Defense Department.
Source: http://federaltimes.com/index.php?S=3359565