Regarding the Freedom of Information Act (National Affairs, June), your readers may have encountered another problem with this most complex arena -- the inability to obtain data on government contracts. For many years the prices in government contracts were routinely revealed to prevent fraud. Around 1974, Honeywell sued the government under FOIA to prevent the release of its contracts. IBM and others also got into the act. Many federal agencies have refused to release contract price and discount data as a result.
Please inform your readers that this is no longer proper. A federal court ruled on December 28, 1981, in 81-1840 that contracts are public. Some 35 states with FOIA laws also state in their laws that contracts are public. This can be of extreme assistance to small businesses in obtaining government contracts in the future.