Friday, July 10, 2009

Small business owners slam Chamber of Commerce

by Joel Wendland

Charging the US Chamber of Commerce with supporting only the "interests of Fortune 500 companies," small business owners this week sharply criticized the business group for refusing to endorse the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act, according to a statement released July 8th by the American Small Business League (ASBL).

The act, which has been introduced in the House, would increase oversight of federal contracts designed to go to small business owners. According to the ASBL, billions of dollars worth of federal contracts that are earmarked for small businesses go instead to large corporations, including many named to Fortune's list of the 500 richest companies. The bill, if passed, would remedy the inequity.

More than $100 billion a year in federal contracts, the ASBL charged, flows into the hands of Fortune 500 corporations and other large multinational corporations.

The Chamber of Commerce opposes changing the regulations that allow this situation. In a blog post last month, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director for Small and Mid-market Business Councils Giovanni Coratolo appeared to accuse small business owners who want the rules changed of whining.

"We find it more beneficial for our members to actually work for good policies, not merely rail into the ether on the injustices of the world," Coratolo wrote.

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