PETALUMA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Friday, June 14, the American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the United States Department of the Army in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
The agency is being sued over their refusal to release small business subcontracting reports under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on federal contracts with Harris Corporation. 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.
On February 13, 2012, the ASBL requested the individual subcontracting report for an Army contract with Harris Corporation. The Army failed to comply with the request.
In the 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 the Army’s denial of such access. Accordingly, ASBL seeks an order from this court compelling the Army to provide the requested information.”
Over the past decade, the ASBL has won dozens of similar lawsuits against federal agencies. With each successful lawsuit, the ASBL has compelled the release of contracting and subcontracting reports that found prime contractors and federal contracting officials are falsifying federal small business contracting data.
Every year, for more than a decade, large corporations have received billions of dollars in small business contracts. The Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG) has named this a top management challenge for the past nine consecutive years.
Nearly every major network has covered this story, including CBS Boston earlier this month.
In 2005, the SBA OIG released report 5-15 which called the diversion of federal small business contracts “One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today.”
GAO Report 10-108 from 2009 states, “By failing to hold firms accountable, SBA and contracting agencies have sent a message to the contracting community that there is no punishment or consequences for committing fraud.”
“I’ve been winning these lawsuits for subcontracting reports for over 20 years and I’ll win this one too. When I do, we’ll find, as we always do, that they’ll most likely show that the Pentagon has allowed contractors to ignore the federally mandated 23 percent small business contracting goal,” said ASBL President and founder Lloyd Chapman.