SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 22, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pay the American Small Business League (ASBL) $54,000 in attorneys’ fees following its recent win against the SBA enforcing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under federal law, plaintiffs who prevail in a case involving the FOIA are reimbursed for the legal expenses they incur.
In an April 29, 2005 ruling, Judge Susan Illston ordered the SBA to produce a report acknowledging that government funds earmarked for small businesses are regularly diverted to big businesses such as Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman, and Hewlett-Packard Co. The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the ASBL after the Small Business Administration withheld a report, commissioned by Eagle Eye Publishing, exposing fraud and abuse in government contracting. The SBA twice refused requests by the ASBL for copies of the original report citing exemptions under the FOIA.
Rob Belshaw, ASBL’s chief attorney stated that “The ASBL
will continue in its efforts to uncover abuses such as
vendor deception and false certification in its efforts to fulfill its mission: to initiate sweeping reforms within the SBA. To the extent that further litigation is required to enforce the public’s right of access to information held by the SBA, ASBL is quite prepared to continue its struggle in the courts.”
“Two weeks ago the SBA issued a statement that claimed small businesses had received over 69 billion dollars in federal contracts in 2004,” said Lloyd Chapman, President, ASBL. “The documents we forced the SBA to release clearly show they have intentionally reported billions in contracts to Fortune 500 companies as small business contracts. We will be filing another suit this month against the SBA that will prove the SBA has turned a blind eye to more fraud and abuse in federal small business contracting.” Specifically, the report showed that billions of dollars intended by Congress for small businesses have gone to the largest corporations in the world. While small businesses struggle to compete for contracts with the Federal Government, companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion such as the Carlyle Group, Raytheon and General Dynamics are receiving small business contracts. The report clearly shows that SBA policies have allowed some of America’s largest companies to receive small business contracts totaling over $2 billion in FY 2002.
The American Small Business League was formed to promote and advocate policies that provide the greatest opportunity for small businesses – the 98% of U.S. companies with less than 100 employees. The ASBL is founded on the principle that small businesses, the backbone of a vital American economy, should receive the fair treatment promised by the Small Business Act of 1951. Representing small businesses in all fields and industries throughout the United States, the ASBL monitors existing policies and proposed policy changes by the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies that affect its members.