DNC Discriminates Against Black And Latino Vendors

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[Open Letter To The President]

Dear President Barack Obama,

There is a nasty feud at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over approximately $800 million in annual contracts. Unfortunately, it is about far more than the DNC's nontransparent and misleading definition of ":minority contracts" that is at issue.

If the DNC insists on its present nontransparent and useless definitional standards that are contrary to federal government policy, Fortune 500 corporations will soon follow suit. These corporations award up to $3 trillion annually in contracts. A fair share of of this amount in contracts is worth a fight by our six million minority-owned businesses. This is particularly the case when bank regulators have refused to require financial institutions to lend to Blacks and other minorities or to award contracts to minorities, despite the Dodd-Frank bill's new requirements.

Mr. President, 85% of the Black community, according to the latest Gallop Poll, supports your policies. But, we predict that unless you personally intervene regarding the DNC, less than 50% of Black-owned businesses will support your reelection bid. We believe you can successfully intervene merely by ordering the DNC to immediately adopt a fully transparent policy similar to the one you strongly supported during your campaign. Secondly, they must adhere to the same definitional standards of minority as those required by the SBA.

More than a decade ago, the Phoenix Urban League led a successful effort to block corporate American against changing its definition to allow just 30% minority ownership to qualify as minority.

The problems with the DNC are reporting definitions are many. The reporting is: not transparent; includes a useless definition of minority-owned so that if there is one minority principle out of five, it is considered minority, and; it lumps all minority groups together including one group that has traditionally not been included, gays and lesbians.

Please make a public statement to the DNC that it immediately provide to the public and to the leaders of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific Congressional caucuses comprehensive data by race, ethnicity, gender and for disabled veterans, separately stated for each. This should include both the dollar and percentage of contracts and the number and percentage of contracts separately stated. This information should be made available on or about July 4th of this year.

As Cornell Belcher, a prominent Black consultant stated, "A lot of the battles that took place in corporate America over issues of diversity--just never happened within the party." And as Congressman James Clyburn stated on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, "Truth of the matter is, there is an old boys club that is perched inside of these party committees."

Mr. President, you brought great hope to the Black community, including our vibrant Black business community, that we would see a renaissance in economic opportunities much as we saw during the first term of the Black Mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, Jr.

We look forward to your matching his achievements and would be pleased to organize groups of Black business organizations and Black business owners at a Rose Garden setting where you announce your support for transparency and minority contracts.

Len Canty is Chairman, Black Economic Council

The Black Economic Council (BEC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The mission of the BEC is to promote the self-sufficiency of Black-American communities through structured economic development.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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