Feb. 7, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Hearing Underrepresented Small Business, Leaders Say

“Chairman Graves must be asking the wrong businesses then. I’m a small-business owner and government contractor, and I would have loved to have the opportunity to testify at that hearing,” said Henry Passapera, a former Lockheed Martin Corp. employee who in 1973 founded P&R Trading, a New Jersey-based transportation equipment supplier.

Passapera said he wanted to know how many small businesses the committee contacted.

Republicans “just couldn’t find anyone to support their position,” Knapp said. “We had 10 small-business folks lined up ready to go to Washington. They weren’t afraid of retribution from the House majority, so why would they be afraid of retribution from the administration?”

In the conference call, sponsored by the Main Street Alliance and other small-business organizations, business leaders said that requiring disclosure would allow them to compete against players who throw their weight around with political contributions.

Passapera and the other small-business leaders on the call noted that companies such as Lockheed Martin, a defense firm and one of the largest federal contractors, and Hallmark, which supplies packaging for the U.S. Postal Service, make hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of political contributions annually to candidates.

“To have the opportunity to complete on a level playing field for a government contract — that’s all we ask for,” he said.

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