All In The [Crime] Family

From Holden:

Looks like Jebbie greased the wheels and Carnival Cruise Line got a no-bid contract.

Funny how these no-bid contracts always seem to go to GOP-connected firms.

A top House Democrat released e-mails Tuesday detailing Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s role in pushing a $236 million federal contract for Carnival Cruise Lines to house Hurricane Katrina victims.

In a letter, Rep. Henry Waxman of California called on Bush to explain his role in the award of the “lucrative contract,” which was given to the Florida-based company without a full competitive bid process. The e-mails Waxman released were provided to Congress by Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Carnival Cruise Lines contract has turned out to be enormously expensive,” Waxman wrote to Gov. Bush, the president’s younger brother. “The e-mails from Mr. Brown provide the first confirmation of your involvement in the award of this contract and the first details of your contacts with Carnival and FEMA.”


According to Waxman, Bush forwarded to Brown, then the FEMA director, an e-mail from a Carnival advertising executive proposing that the company’s ships be used for housing two days after the Aug. 29 storm.

The Carnival official, Ric Cooper, has been a major political donor to the Florida and national Republican parties, including $65,000 to the state GOP in 2002, and $50,00 to the RNC in 2004, Waxman said.

Less than three hours later, Brown replied to Cooper, saying he thought it was a “great idea.”

“One of my HQ folks working the housing issue is going to contact you directly,” Brown wrote. “If you haven’t heard from them by close of business tomorrow, please call me on my cellphone …Thanks. MDB”

On Sept. 1, Cooper then appealed to Brown and Brad Gair, FEMA’s housing area command director, to speed along its consideration of Carnival’s bid, saying the company needed to make plans accordingly.

After Gair replied that he had done all he could and the matter was now in the hands of FEMA contracting, Brown expressed impatience. “Why? Why isn’t this red tape being cut?” he wrote, two days before the deal was finally handed to Carnival.

Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, called on Bush to provide a timeline of his contacts with Carnival and Brown as well as other documents relating to the Carnival proposal.