PETALUMA, Calif., Dec. 4, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Office of the Solicitor General has stepped in to help the Pentagon stall the release of what could be some very damaging information from the embattled 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP).
Federal District Court Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of the American Small Business League (ASBL) in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case after the Pentagon refused to release subcontracting data Sikorsky Aviation Corporations submitted under the CSPTP.
On Nov. 23, Judge Alsup ordered the Pentagon to release the Sikorsky subcontracting data to the ASBL by December 3, 2014.
On Dec. 3, the Office of the Solicitor General intervened and assisted the Pentagon to stall the release of the data. Judge Alsup then granted the Pentagon a 60-day stay on the release of the controversial data.
Now the Office of the Solicitor General and the Pentagon have 60 days to decide if they will appeal Judge Alsup's ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ASBL requested the Sikorsky data as a test case to challenge the Pentagon's refusal to release any data on the "Test Program" in over 25 years. Prior to the implementation of the "Test Program" all subcontracting data on all Pentagon prime contractors was publicly available. Before the "Test Program" was adopted the Pentagon's compliance with federal law that mandates a minimum of 23 percent of all federal contracts be awarded to small businesses was continuously challenged. Publicly available subcontracting reports on Pentagon prime contractors reflected small business subcontracting goals that were routinely less than one percent.
The CSPTP was adopted under the pretense of "increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses." Once the Pentagon adopted the CSPTP, all publicly available data on subcontracting goals was eliminated along with any penalties such as "liquidated damages" prime contractors had faced for failing to comply with their subcontracting goals.
Professor Charles Tiefer, one of the nation's leading experts on federal contracting law released a legal opinion that was very critical of the CSPTP. "The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business to get government contracting work... Let it expire," stated Professor Tiefer in his legal opinion.
"The information we are seeking is simply the percentage of subcontracts Sikorsky has awarded to small businesses. The Pentagon is fighting the release of this data so aggressively because they know as I do that it will prove they have violated federal contracting law for twenty-five years and cheated American small businesses out of hundreds of billions in subcontracts," said ASBL President Lloyd Chapman.
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes language renewing the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program into its 28th year of testing, until 2017. Congress will likely vote on the bill before the December 11 recess.
The release of the Sikorsky data on December 3 could have jeopardized the renewal of the CSPTP.
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Source:American Small Business League