Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Party may be over

Someone appears to be acting on the allegations of cronyism in the quick awards of contracts to firms with connections to the Bush administration:Official Vows Investigation of No-Bid Relief Contracts - New York Times.
The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane and would investigate how no-bid contracts were awarded to several large, politically well-connected companies.
Specifically singled out are the following:
He said that his investigators would focus on several no-bid contracts awarded over the last two weeks to large, politically influential companies, including the Fluor Corporation of California, a major donor to the Republican Party, and the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge, La. Shaw is a client of Joe M. Allbaugh, a consultant who is the former head of FEMA and was President Bush's campaign manager in 2000.

Another of Mr. Allbaugh's clients - Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the giant defense contractor once led by Vice President Dick Cheney - is doing major repairs at Navy facilities along the Gulf Coast that were damaged by the hurricane. That work is being done under a $500 million contract with the Defense Department.

Mr. Skinner said he had no reason to believe there was anything wrong with the no-bid contracts, "but we're going to be looking at all of the contracting, the decision-making that was used to determine a sole-source contract."

"We want validation and we want documentation to show that it was rational to go one way or the other" in offering a no-bid contract, he said.
Seems to be a pretty quick uptake on this issue. The inspector general is described here as the Homeland Security Department's "internal watchdog." Will wait to see if this is a rigorous review ....