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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Big Boys in Kiddie Pool?

The American Small Business League has been on a tear recently going after several Federal agencies for information whether Large Business is butting into Small Business set asides.

In its Press Release for one such action, it says,
The ASBL plans to file a series of FOIA requests to NASA as a means of uncovering more federal small business contracts that were diverted to Fortune 500 firms. Specifically, the ASBL intends to uncover contracts awarded to large corporations that were coded as small business contracts by contracting officers.

Section 16(d) of the Small Business Act states, "whoever misrepresents the status of any concern or person as a 'small business concern'...to obtain for oneself or another," any prime contract or subcontract with the government shall be subject to penalties of $500,000, 10 years in prison and/or debarment from federal contracting programs.

Attorneys for the ASBL believe federal contracting officials, and possibly even employees of prime contractors, could be held liable for penalties prescribed under section 16(d) of the Small Business Act for fraudulently misrepresenting large firms as small businesses.
In another Release it says,
Despite campaign promises of increased transparency, and an end to the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants, the Obama Administration is refusing to release a wide range of information to the general public. The administration has refused to release information such as: the names of recipients of small business contracts, the names of federal contracting officials who awarded contracts to large corporations, the specific names of individuals responsible for misrepresenting large corporations as small businesses, and prime contractor compliance with small business subcontracting goals.

"We expect that by the end of 2010, through our freedom of information requests and lawsuits, that we will prove once and for all that the diversion of billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts to corporate giants is not honest mistakes, miscoding, or computer glitches. Our efforts will prove that the government has adopted specific policies that divert small business contracts to large corporations, and in many cases the government has allowed federal contracting officials and prime contractors to get away with blatant contracting fraud," ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said.
For instance,

NASA and General Dynamics C4 Systems Incorporated:
The ASBL requested information from NASA on a contract awarded to General Dynamics after discovering that a contracting officer reported the award as a small business contract.

Wednesday's suit is the second lawsuit filed by the ASBL against NASA. In February of 2007, the ASBL prevailed in its first suit against NASA, forcing the agency to provide detailed information proving the agency falsified its small business contracting statistics by including contracts to a variety of Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses.
Department of Energy and Bechtel:
The DOE is refusing to release information about a $3.6 billion contract that was awarded to Bechtel, which listed the giant contractor as a small business under the socio-economic field.
Army and ManTech Telecommunications.

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