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Sizing Things Up

Under fire for giving too many contracts to big business, the SBA fights back.

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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Depending on whom you talk to, Texas-born small-business advocate Lloyd Chapman is either a modern-day Cesar Chavez or a conspiracy theorist with a grudge. Either way, as the SBA has learned, he's become hard to ignore.

In late 2004, Chapman and his organization, the American Small Business League, spearheaded an investigation into a series of flaws in the SBA's contract procurement process, culminating in a lawsuit. Since the end of 2004, at least five reports from three different government agencies--the Government Accountability Office, the SBA Office of Advocacy and the SBA Office of the Inspector General--have noted irregularities in the SBA's system of awarding small-business contracts, prompted in part by Chapman's incessant lobbying. The agencies' findings allege complacency at best, borderline fraud at worst.

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