Thursday, August 10, 2006


Sue Overlooked Her Oversight

Sue Kelly often espouses a true affinity to small business people - claiming to have been one herself in a former life. But, as we’ve pointed out before, she can’t be trusted to watch out for small business, even though her position on the House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight, puts her in the position to actually do something to protect shopkeepers, small manufacturers and service providers in our district – by making sure that the Small Business Administration (SBA) does its job. Her subcommittee’s job is “oversight and investigative authority over the regulatory and paperwork policies of all Federal departments and agencies.”

Not surprisingly, recent reports show that Sue has been asleep at the wheel.

For example, by law, at least 23% of federal contracting money should be awarded to small businesses, but a research study has found that nearly $5 billion of contracts went to 13 of the largest government contractors – Microsoft, Wall-Mart, Lockheed-Martin, Exxon Mobil, Northrup Grumman – each one a struggling mom and pop shop that needs the protection of Federal legislation. If those major corporations are taken out of the list, the 23% minimum is not met. This pattern of abuse has happened on a yearly basis during the Bush/Cheney years. The SBA money goes to big business for a variety of reasons related to incompetence and fraud, but the primary responsibility rests on the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is helping carry out the Bush/Cheney Administration’s preference for the large, well-connected corporations.

So Bush/Cheney is using the SBA to rob small business on behalf of big business.

And Sue Kelly, who is in charge of making sure SBA does what it is supposed to do – help small business – has been at best oblivious, or at worst, complicit in this.

Fortunately someone in New York is watching out for small business. Rep. Nadia Velazquez, Democrat of New York, is also on the Small Business Committee and is asking the GAO, as well as watchdogs at State, Treasury, Defense and Transportation, to investigate. She is also contacting about 2,500 big companies, asking them to remove their names from the SBA’s list of approved small businesses. Rep. Velazaquez, as a member of the minority party doesn’t have the power of subpoena and can’t hold Small Business Subcommittee hearings on this. The Republican “leadership” – i.e., Sue Kelly - have refused to exercise oversight, saying that to hold firms like Exxon Mobil and Microsoft accountable for improperly taking the taxpayer’s money would be “penalizing” a firm for success. Amazingly, Sue Kelly and her Republican co-conspirators believe that the SBA should be patted on the back for taking a risk with these “small businesses”.

People, it is time for a change

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