Pentagon and Sikorsky Battle to Withhold Data in 9th Circuit Case

Ninth Circuit of Appeals Court to Hear ASBL case Against Pentagon

May 28, 2015, 07:13 ET from American Small Business League

PETALUMA, Calif., May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pentagon has filed their appellant brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a Freedom of information Act case filed by the American Small Business League (ASBL).

The ASBL originally won their Freedom of Information Act case against the Pentagon in November of 2014. The ASBL had requested the most recent subcontracting plan submitted by Sikorsky Aviation Corporation to the Pentagon's Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP).

The ASBL believed the CSPTP was created to allow the Pentagon's largest prime contractors to cheat small businesses by eliminating all transparency and penalties for non-compliance with small business subcontracting goals. In September, Professor Charles Tiefer, a leading expert on federal contracting law, agreed and wrote a legal opinion calling the CSPTP a "sham" and "seriously harmful" to small businesses.

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 "tab and highlight every part of the requested document" that they believed was proprietary and explain why they believed the information should be exempt. The Pentagon declined to comply with Judge Alsup's request.

The Pentagon and Sikorsky have now filed two separate appellant briefs. They are objecting to the release of the phone numbers and email addresses of Sikorsky's employees along with the names of Sikorsky's small business subcontractors.  

"I believe the reason that the Pentagon and Sikorsky are fighting so hard to withhold this information is because it could be incriminating and will expose the fact the Pentagon has knowingly allowed prime contractors to cheat American small businesses out of hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars since the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program began in 1989," stated ASBL President Lloyd Chapman.

The ASBL has begun filming a documentary on their campaign to end fraud in federal small business contracting programs.

Steve Godfrey 

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SOURCE American Small Business League