SBA Administrator Refuses to Release Names of Giant Firms Masquerading as Small Businesses, says ASBL
PETALUMA, Calif. - October 26 - It has been over three months since American Small Business League (ASBL) president, Lloyd Chapman, made his first request to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Steven Preston to release a complete list of firms that received federal small business contracts during fiscal year 2005. Preston is still refusing to provide the information. Several journalists have also requested this information but he has consistently declined to provide it.
Both ABC and CBS reported that 2,500 of the nation's largest firms were found on the list of federal small business contractors including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Rolls Royce. Thirteen federal investigations have exposed the wholesale diversion of billions in federal small business contracts and yet Preston, in a conversation with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune, stated, "the problem is more with the way contract data is recorded than it is big companies getting work meant for small businesses."
Chapman says that Preston is either stupid or he's lying, "and I don't think he's stupid. I believe that it's an insult to the intelligence of everyone in America for Preston to claim that small companies aren't damaged by the government counting contracts to Fortune 500 firms toward their small-business contracting goal. The fact is that legitimate small businesses are losing out on billions of dollars in federal contracts every year. And thousands of small contractors have been forced into bankruptcy competing head to head with some of the largest companies in the world for federal small business contracts."
In stark contrast to Preston's recent statement, several federal officials have acknowledged that small businesses have been significantly damaged. Thomas Sullivan, the head of SBA's Office of Advocacy said, "We now have hard data, and not just anecdotes, from across federal agencies that shows contracts meant for small businesses were going to larger firms."
David Drabkin, senior procurement officer for the General Services Administration (GSA) stated, "The numbers are inflated, we just don't know the extent."
The SBA's own Inspector General has identified the diversion of small business contracts to large firms as the #1 most serious challenge facing the Small Business Administration today.
The ASBL is preparing to file suit in federal court to force the SBA and the GSA to make the list of these firms public. Chapman believes this information will reveal that as much as $100 billion in federal small business contracts that the Bush administration claims is going to small firms is being diverted to some of the nation's largest defense contractors, many of which were major contributors to the Republican National Committee.
Chapman added, "I think Republican small business owners need to take a look at this information before they go to the polls in November. The Bush administration is clearly anti-small business. He's allowing small firms to be cheated out of billions in contracts and he's trying to close the SBA - the only federal agency designed to protect the best interests of the small businesses where most Americans work."