WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senator Tom Coburn is accusing the Small Business Administration of illegally lobbying special interest groups.

He says the SBA is trying to undermine a congressional investigation into the SBA's mistakes and the agency's performance.

Coburn is chairman of a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee that's meeting today to examine SBA's response to last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes. The committee is also looking into SBA contracts that benefit big businesses and its awarding of 9-11 recovery loans to businesses that say they were not damaged by the terror attacks.

Coburn says he's seen e-mails from SBA employees that seem to be intended to undermine the hearing before it began.

Federal agencies are prohibited from using tax dollars to lobby Congress either directly or indirectly.

The SBA denies illegal lobbying and says it welcomes the opportunity to tell lawmakers about the agency's accomplishments.