, By: Angus Loten

For the second year in a row, the federal government fell short of its small-business contracting goals in 2007, including targets on contracts for women, veterans and businesses in low-income communities, the Small Business Administration reported this week...

In recent years, federal lawmakers and watchdog groups have attacked the agency for turning a blind eye to miscoded contracts, awarding billions of dollars set aside for smaller firms to Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and other corporate giants.

In July 2007, the SBA enacted new regulations that required small-business contractors to recertify the size of their businesses every five years and inform the government if they're bought by a larger firm.

Despite those changes, many critics say the numbers still can't be trusted.

"Eight years of budget cuts and lax oversight show that the Bush Administration thinks small equals less important," Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.

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