PETALUMA, Calif., Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Small Business League (ASBL) is accusing the Pentagon of trying to cover-up trillions of dollars in fraud in a federal case over data submitted to the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP).
In August 2013 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the ASBL requested the most recent comprehensive subcontracting plan that Sikorsky Aviation Corporation submitted to the CSPTP. The ASBL’s goal was to file a test case to challenge the Pentagon’s refusal to release any data on the program in over 25 years and prove the program had defrauded small businesses out of trillions of dollars in subcontracts since the program began in 1990.
On November 23, 2014, Judge Alsup ruled against the Pentagon and ordered them to release the Sikorsky data to the ASBL by December 3, 2014.
On December 2, 2014, the Office of Solicitor General intervened in the case and secured a 60-day stay of the release of the data.
“The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is so the public can see how our government works. Congress passed this law to make the small businesses have access to some of these projects, and here is the United States covering it up,” stated Judge Alsup in his November 6, 2014 hearing.
On December 11, 2014, Sikorsky filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for their right to intervene with the case.
“DOD argued that the Plan was exempt from disclosure under FOIA because it contained confidential commercial and financial information, the disclosure of which would cause substantial harm to Sikorsky’s competitive position,” stated Rex Heinke, attorney for Sikorsky Aircraft in their motion to intervene.
Judge Alsup referred to this case as a “David and Goliath” battle between ASBL and both the DoD and Sikorsky. “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,” Alsup stated to the ASBL.
In September 2014, Professor Charles Tiefer, one of America’s leading experts on federal contracting law issued a legal opinion on the CSPTP. He stated, “The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business… It should not have gotten its 25 years of extension as a never-tested ‘Test Program.’ Let it expire.”
In a December 31, 2014 article in the Washington Post, Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann admitted the CSPTP had in fact reduced subcontracting opportunities for small business. Ms. Schumann stated that the program “has led to an erosion of [the agency’s] small business industrial base,” and that “there is no evidence that the CSPTP has benefited small companies.”
“The move in Washington to close the Small Business Administration is clearly designed to cover-up the rampant fraud that has been exposed in small business programs like the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program,” stated Lloyd Chapman, President of the American Small Business League.