Pentagon – Sikorsky Case Filed By ASBL Heads To Federal Court In December

PETALUMA, Calif., April 12, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Freedom of Information Act case filed against the Pentagon by the American Small Business League (ASBL) will go to trial in December 2017. Federal District Court Judge William Alsup set the trial date in an April 6, 2017 hearing on the case.

The Pentagon and Sikorsky are refusing to release Sikorsky’s small business subcontracting plan submitted to the Pentagon’s 28-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP). The Pentagon adopted the CSPTP under the pretense of “increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.” In reality the test program eliminated all transparency on small business subcontracting programs for the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors. The Pentagon has refused to release any information on the program for over 27 years.

The ASBL believes the release of the information will prove the Pentagon has defrauded small businesses out of over two trillion dollars in subcontracts since the program was established in 1989.

The ASBL won the case in Federal District Court on November 26, 2014.  Judge Alsup described the ASBL’s case by stating, “So it would be more like a David and Goliath. You get to come in there and be the underdog again against the big company and against the big government.”  “They are trying to suppress the evidence.”

In a November 6, 2014 hearing Judge Alsup stated, “The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is so the public can see how our government works. Congress passed this law to make small businesses have access to some of these projects, and here is the United States covering it up.”

After losing in the District Court the Pentagon and Sikorsky appealed the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. During the course of the litigation Sikorsky claimed their parent company Lockheed Martin was a competitor that would gain an unfair advantage with the release of the information submitted to the CSPTP. On January 6, 2016 the 9th Circuit Court remanded the case back to the District Court.

Judge Alsup has allowed the ASBL to conduct discovery that will include ten depositions of Pentagon and Sikorsky employees.

The ASBL is in the final stages of a documentary chronicling their efforts to end fraud in federal programs for small businesses, and small businesses owned women, minorities, and service-disabled veterans.

 

Congress Renews Pentagon Anti-Transparency Program Until 2027

PETALUMA, Calif., Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a surprising move Congress has renewed the embattled Pentagon Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) into its 38th year of testing, 2027. The renewal of the CSPTP was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

The CSPTP was originally adopted in 1989 under the guise of “increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.” For over 27 years the Pentagon claimed they were “testing” whether eliminating all transparency on the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors subcontracting programs and eliminating any penalties for non-compliance with small business subcontracting goals would actually increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.

In 2014 the Pentagon asked that Congress not renew the program.  Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann acknowledged the CSPTP had actually reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses and “reduced the Pentagon’s small business industrial supplier base.”

Professor Charles Tiefer, one of the nation’s leading experts on federal contracting law released a legal opinion on the CSPTP, describing it as a “sham” and seriously harmful to small businesses.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) filed suit against the Pentagon in 2014 after the Pentagon refused to release the small business subcontracting plan submitted to the CSPTP by Sikorsky Aircraft. During the case Federal District Court Judge William Alsup described the ASBL as being an underdog in a David and Goliath against the “big company.” In a subsequent hearing Judge Alsup accused the Pentagon of “suppressing the evidence.”

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman issued this statement regarding the renewal of the CSPTP: “This is absolutely astounding, a program that was specifically designed to cheat small businesses out of trillions and cover up all evidence of blatant fraud has now been renewed by Congress into its 38th year. This is a prime example of why so many American’s are outraged by our government.”

Appeals Court Exposes True Purpose Of Pentagon Test Program

 

ASBL Ninth Circuit Case Against Pentagon

PETALUMA, Calif., Jan. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On January 6th 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the public will not be able to see any documents that have been submitted by the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors to the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) over the last 28 years.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) originally won their FOIA case against the Pentagon in November of 2014. Federal District Court Judge William Alsup ordered the Pentagon to release the Sikorsky data to the ASBL after reviewing the information and deducing nothing in the report constituted as trade secret, proprietary or confidential financial information.

Regarding the 9th circuit ruling, ASBL President Lloyd Chapman had this to say: “The Appeals Court ruling supports the ASBL’s longstanding position that the CSPTP was established under the guise of increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses when in reality it removes all transparency, allowing the Pentagon’s top contractors to violate federal contracting law and obscure all evidence of non-compliance.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann supported the ASBL’s assertion that the CSPTP has actually reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses, commenting in an article for The Washington Post in September 2014 that the program “Has led to an erosion of the [the agencies] small business industrial base.”

The ASBL estimates that since its inception in 1989, over $5 trillion have been administered through the CSPTP with no transparency. The ASBL finds this concerning following the recent IG report showing the Pentagon can’t account for $6.5 trillion.

“The 9th circuit ruling essentially eliminates all transparency on $5 trillion in Pentagon contracts over the last 28 years; it’s not inconceivable that this ruling could eliminate transparency in contracts with the pentagon’s largest prime contractors for the next 28 years,” said Lloyd Chapman.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that the 9th circuit judges never even saw the Sikorsky documents he carefully reviewed while making his decision. Judge Alsup even accused the Pentagon and Sikorsky of trying to “suppress the evidence.” The ASBL plans on appealing its case to the Supreme Court.”

Mother Jones Exposes Fraud At The Small Business Administration

 

PETALUMA, Calif., July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — An article released by Mother Jones journalist Josh Harkinson has exposed rampant fraud at the Small Business Administration (SBA). The article reveals illegal SBA practices that have defrauded American small businesses out of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts and subcontracts. Harkinson’s article is titled, Giant Corporations Are Reaping Billions From Federal “Small Business” Contracts.

For several years the SBA Press Office has declined to speak directly with journalists and will only respond to written questions. In 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a scathing investigation that found legitimate small businesses had been cheated out of billions of dollars when federal agencies had diverted federal small business contracts to over 5,300 large businesses.

In 2003, the SBA initially acknowledged the actual volume of federal contracts to small businesses had been dramatically inflated, but that admission soon changed to excuses of miscoding and computer glitches as the reason for why many of the largest firms in the world were listed in the SBA’s database of small businesses.

The SBA has never been able to explain why every year for over 15 years their alleged miscoding, computer glitches, anomalies and simple human error have always diverted federal small business contracts to corporate giants, while at the same time dramatically inflating the volume of federal contracts that appear to have been awarded to legitimate small businesses.

The SBA was unable to provide Harkinson with the language in the Small Business Act that they use to justify reporting federal contracts to Fortune 500 firms as small business awards. They were also unable to provide any language from the Small Business Act that would allow the SBA to exclude the majority of the total federal acquisition budget in calculating the percentage of all federal contracts awarded to small businesses.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) estimates that over the last decade legitimate small business may have been cheated out of over two trillion dollars in federal contracts and subcontracts as a result of illegal policies that have been used by the SBA and federal agencies.

Every year for the last eleven years, the SBA Office of Inspector General has named the diversion of federal small business contracts to large businesses as the number one problem at the agency.

President Obama recognized the magnitude of the fraud and abuse against small businesses when he released the statement, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.

Most recently the GSA has proposed a new policy that will exclude thousands of current small businesses from continuing to receive federal contracts. Language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act will further reduce federal contracting opportunities for small businesses.

The American Small Business League has file for an injunction against the SBA in Federal District Court in San Francisco to halt the illegal policies they used to defraud legitimate small businesses out of billions of dollars in federal contracts each year.

The American Small Business League plans to release a full-length documentary that will chronicle the history of corruption and fraud in federal small business contracting programs.

White House Abruptly Cancels Small Business Event Over Fraud Controversy

 

PETALUMA, Calif., May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Obama Administration confirmed that SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet was going to announce they exceeded the government’s 23% small business contracting goal at a White House even scheduled for the final day of National Small Business Week. The event which was scheduled for Friday afternoon, May 8, was abruptly canceled after journalists began to suggest the data might have been fabricated.

The American Small Business League (ASBL) has accused the Small Business Administration of falsifying their annual small business contracting numbers for over a decade. Now Public Citizen and longtime Washington Business Journal journalist Kent Hoover have joined the ASBL in challenging the accuracy of the SBA’s annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard.

Hoover released a story on Friday that reported shortly after he contacted the SBA Thursday afternoon and requested a list of the top 100 recipients of federal small business contracts for 2014, the SBA announced the event was abruptly canceled. Obama Administration officials may have panicked over the possibility Hoover would be asking the SBA Administrator to explain why Fortune 500 firms continued to be included in the SBA’s small business contracting data for over 15 years.

A series of federal investigations and investigative reports in the media have found every year for over a decade the SBA has included billions of dollars in contracts to Fortune 500 firms and their subsidiaries in their annul small business contracting data.

Hoover’s inquiry came on the heels of an investigative report by government watchdog group, Public Citizen, which found the SBA’s small business contracting numbers had been fabricated and significantly inflated. The Public Citizen report was based heavily on research done by the California based American Small Business League and interviews with the group’s President Lloyd Chapman.

Public Citizen Research Director, Taylor Lincoln, acknowledged SBA Press Office Director Terry Sutherland refused to speak with him over the phone or respond to any questions as to why Fortune 500 firms continued to receive federal small business contracts. Sutherland also refused to explain the SBA’s excuse that “miscoding” has diverted small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms for over 15 years or provide the provisions of the Small Business Act the SBA uses to justify their “exclusionary rule” or their “five year rule.

“It’s obvious the White House completely panicked at the possibility that for the first time in history an SBA Administrator might have to actually explain why the SBA has cheated American small businesses out of billions for over 15 years by diverting federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms. I still expect President Obama will attempt to close the SBA to cover up this blatant fraud,” stated ASBL President Lloyd Chapman.

It is unclear if and when the White House will reschedule the event.