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 Katrina 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.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 ....
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.