Subpoenas spark change in agencies' small business leadership


A House committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled after agencies that were subpoenaed to testify about their refusal to put senior leadership in charge of their small business contracting activities decided to reorganize instead.

On Oct. 20, House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves issued subpoenas to the Treasury, State, Justice and Agriculture departments, requiring their deputy secretaries attend a Nov. 1 hearing to discuss their noncompliance with the federal Small Business Act. 

The four agencies had previously refused to change the organizational structure of their Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), which, according to the federal Small Business Act, is supposed to be in direct contact with the agency’s secretary or deputy secretary. The agencies said they were compliant with the spirit of the law by either putting their OSDBU director under less senior officials or had less senior administrators do day-to-day activities.

On Friday, State, Agriculture and Justice officials told the Small Business Committee that they would comply and change their reporting structure to give OSDBU access to the deputy secretary or secretary, a committee spokesman said. The committee is still in discussion with the Treasury Department, the spokesman said.


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