by Andrew Walden
All eyes are on Chris Dawson as Federal agents sift through records seized in their June 27, 2023, raid on the offices of Hawaii Native Corporation and its ‘Dawson’ subsidiaries, Hawaii’s oldest and largest ‘8a’ racial set-aside contractors.
But an even greater threat is getting no attention from Hawaii media.
‘8a’ refers to Section 8a of the Small Business Act which provides for government contracts reserved for businesses owned by members of ‘disadvantaged’ racial groups.
In the wake of the July 19, 2023, decision in Ultima vs USDA (2:20-CV-00041-DCLC-CRW), the federal Small Business Administration August 8, 2023 posted the following on its 8a application portal:
8(a) application submissions temporarily suspended
On July 19, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee enjoined SBA from applying a rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage to individuals of certain racial groups applying to the 8(a) Business Development program. SBA has temporarily suspended new 8(a) application submissions to comply with the Court’s decision. Thank you for your patience and interest in the 8(a) Business Development program.
FNN reports: “The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee ruled last month that SBA can’t automatically assume a small business is socially and economically disadvantaged, based on the owner’s race, when applying for the agency’s 8(a) business development program.”
If made permanent, the suspension of applications could eventually wipe out the entire 8a program as existing contractors are required to recertify every nine years.
Hawaiian 8a companies are among the most prominent corporate sponsors of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA).
DOI: Native Hawaiian 8(a) List
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July 26, 2023: Hawaii Congressional delegation pushing for Native Hawaiian 8a Contracting to go beyond just DoD
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