PETALUMA, Calif., Feb. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Pentagon has filed an appeal in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case they lost to the American Small Business League (ASBL). The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will now hear the case.
On November 23, Federal District Court Judge William Alsup ordered the Pentagon to release a report Sikorsky Aviation Corporation submitted to the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program to the ASBL by December 3.
"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," said Judge Alsup in the hearing.
The ASBL originally requested the Sikorsky data to test the Pentagon's refusal to release any data on the CSPTP in over 25 years and prove the program had cheated small businesses out of trillions of dollars in subcontracts.
The ASBL also hoped to use the data to convince Congress not to include language in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would renew the CSPTP into its twenty-eighth year of testing.
ASBL President and founder Lloyd Chapman has been an outspoken critic of the CSPTP. No Washington based organization claiming to represent the interests of small businesses has ever publicly criticized the program since it began over 25 years ago.
"The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program has allowed the Pentagon to cheat American small businesses out of trillions of dollars in subcontracts for over 25 years. The Pentagon knows the release of this data will prove that fact," stated Chapman.
The Pentagon adopted the CSPTP in 1990 under the pretense of "increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses." In reality the program eliminated all transparency on small business subcontracting programs by prime contractors and eliminated all non-compliance penalties such as "liquidated damages."
In a Dec. 30 article in the Washington Post, Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann confirmed Chapman's criticism that small businesses had been shortchanged by the CSPTP. She stated the program "has led to an erosion of [the agency's] small business industrial base," and while the Pentagon suggests that it has resulted in savings for the participating large contractors, "there is no evidence that the CSPTP has benefited small companies."
In September, Prof. Charles Tiefer issued a legal opinion on the CSPTP that confirmed Chapman's concerns that the program has harmed small businesses. Prof. Tiefer stated, "The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business... There is no doubt in my mind the CSPTP has significantly reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses… Let it expire."
Despite overwhelming evidence the CSPTP had significantly reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses, President Obama signed the 2015 NDAA and renewed the CSPTP into its twenty-eighth year of testing, until 2017.
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Source:American Small Business League