The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has lost a legal battle with the American Small Business League (ASBL) over subcontracting reports for contracts awarded to Fortune 500 corporation Bechtel. As a result, DOE has been forced to release the requested documents and United States District Judge Charles Breyer has ordered the DOE to pay the ASBL’s legal fees in full. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/Final_Order.pdf)
The ASBL originally requested Individual Subcontracting Reports (ISR/SF 294), and Summary Subcontracting Reports (SSR/SF 295) on several contracts awarded to Bechtel by the federal government. ISRs and SSRs are a key component in assessing prime contractor compliance with small business subcontracting goals.
“Once again the ASBL has been successful in compelling the government to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after an agency originally declined to do so,” attorney for the ASBL Robert Belshaw said. “It is unfortunate that despite the administration’s stated goal of increased transparency, we were again required to seek relief from the courts before the government recognized its obligations under FOIA and complied with our request.”
The ASBL currently has 6 additional lawsuits pending against the Obama Administration in the United States court system, and is planning to file at least 6 more before the end of the year. Since 2004, the ASBL has been forced to file 14 lawsuits against federal agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Navy, NASA, and the U.S. Army. The ASBL has never ultimately lost a lawsuit with the federal government.
President Obama said this was going to be the most transparent administration in history, and yet we have been forced to go to federal court to see anything that has to do with federal small business contracting programs. That should send up a red flag to anyone. As a result of the information we are obtaining through these lawsuits, it has become clear to us that the Obama Administration is dramatically inflating the volume of contracts that are actually awarded to legitimate small businesses.
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