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Industry group opposes release of size data.

A leading contractor group has asked that data about a company's size be exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Professional Services Council filed its comment in response to a notice that company information in the Central Contractor Registration is about to be released publicly. The Defense Department, which manages the CCR, said it has received a request under the Freedom of Information Act for data on all registered contractors. It did not say who filed the FOIA request.

The Professional Services Council urged DOD to withhold three types of information: a company's revenues, its average number of employees and its CAGE code.

The Small Business Administration blocked public access to CCR's employment and revenue data in December, saying it had received complaints from contractors that the information was proprietary. (SAA, 12/22/2006)

In its April 13 notice in the Federal Register, DOD said it would withhold some data, including bank account information, but said the revenue and employment information was not exempt from disclosure under the law.

In his comment letter, PSC Senior Vice President Alan Chvotkin said revealing the number of employees would not be useful to the public because that number varies widely from time to time. He said many contractors are privately held companies that do not release revenue figures.

Neither the employment nor revenue figures will help the public determine whether a company qualifies as a small business on any individual contract, he said.

Chvotkin argued that a company's CAGE code could be used to sort data and reveal other information.

When SBA restricted access to the employment and revenue numbers, Lloyd Chapman, president of the American Small Business League, charged that it was an attempt to conceal the fact that some large companies had misrepresented themselves as small ones. Chapman, a longtime SBA critic, has sued the agency several times over access to procurement data.
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Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 29, 2007
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