(AP)FEMA exposed taxpayers to
significant waste — and possibly violated federal law — by awarding
$3.6 billion worth of Hurricane Katrina contracts to companies with
poor credit histories and bad paperwork, investigators say.
The new report by the Homeland Security Department’s office of inspector general,
set to be released later this week, examines the propriety of 36
trailer contracts designated for small and local businesses in the
stricken Gulf Coast region following the 2005 storm.
It found a haphazard competitive bidding process in which the
winning contract prices were both unreasonably low and high. Moreover, FEMA
did not take adequate legal steps to ensure that companies were small
and locally operated, resulting in a questionable contract award to a
large firm with ties to the Republican Party.
“Based on our analysis, we concluded that FEMA contracting
officials exposed the agency to an unacceptable level of risk,”
according to the report by the office of inspector general Richard
The audit was requested by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the
Democratic Policy Committee, following complaints last year by some
small business owners that they were unfairly shut out of the
I hope I am wrong about the media attention this will receive but given past performance and this explanation of such via Harry Shearer at HuffPo I’ll bet I’m right…
Also of note: another investigative reporter, with whom I had an
extended conversation about New Orleans and the failure of major media,
including his newspaper, to accurately and comprehensively cover the
story of why the levees failed. He had, he told me, written impassioned
memoes to his editor(s) about the need to cover it, and the answer was
always the same: It’s too complicated.
“Too Complicated”… Funny how the stupid bloggers working for free in their spare time are able to cover it.