SOURCE: American Small Business League

American Small Business League

December 09, 2016 11:13 ET

Pentagon Lawsuit Could Mean Billions For Small Businesses

Ninth Circuit Court To Hear ASBL Case Against Pentagon

PETALUMA, CA--(Marketwired - December 09, 2016) - The San Francisco 9th Circuit of Appeals will hear the American Small Business League's (ASBL) Freedom Of Information Act case against the Pentagon on December 14, 2016. The trial is being held following the Pentagon's appeal to overturn the ruling that they disclose Sikorsky Aviation Corporation's most recent subcontracting plan submitted to the Pentagon's Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP).

The ASBL believes the CSPTP has allowed the Pentagon's largest prime contractors to circumvent small business subcontracting goals by eliminating all transparency and penalties for non-compliance. Professor Charles Tiefer, a leading expert on federal contracting law, agrees with the ASBL and has written a legal opinion calling the CSPTP a "sham" and "seriously harmful" to small businesses.

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman emphasizes that the benefits of winning this case are not isolated to small contracting firms, sighting Senator Mary Landrieu's statement that for every one percent increase in federal contracts awarded to small businesses, more than 100,000 jobs would be created.

"If the American Small Business League is successful in revealing the Pentagon's diversion of small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms through the CSPTP, we would see a significant boost in job creation. Additionally, we would see up to $100 billion a year in existing contracts going to small businesses," said Chapman.

The ASBL originally won their Freedom of Information Act case against the Pentagon in November of 2014. Federal District Court Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ordered the Pentagon to release the Sikorsky data to the ASBL after reviewing the information and determining nothing in the report constituted as trade secret, proprietary or confidential financial information.

In his ruling, Judge Alsup described the ASBL as being an underdog in a David and Goliath battle against the "big company" and against the "big government." He also accused the Pentagon of "covering it up" in reference to the information the ASBL requested. In a subsequent hearing, Judge Alsup accused the Pentagon and Sikorsky of trying to "suppress the evidence."

During the District Court case, Judge Alsup instructed the Pentagon and Sikorsky on two separate occasions to "highlight the parts that are supposedly confidential" or that they believed were proprietary and explain why they believed the information should be exempt. The Pentagon declined to comply with Judge Alsup's request.

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