Oh My! Government Bid Solicitation for those Defective New Orleans Pumps Used Specs from Catalog of Company that got Bid

The Army Corps of Engineers used pump specs for bid solicitation right out of the catalog of Jeb Bush’s old company–MWI…the company that ended up getting the bid.

NEW ORLEANSA review of documents by The
Associated Press found that when the Army Corps of Engineers solicited
bids for drainage pumps for New Orleans, it copied the specifications
— typos and all — from the catalog of the manufacturer that
ultimately won the $32 million contract.


While it may not be a violation of federal regulations to adopt a
company’s technical specifications, it is frowned on, especially for
large jobs like the MWI contract.

Contractors familiar with Corps
practices said that’s because it could give the impression the job was
rigged for the benefit of a certain companies.


The Corps’ January 2006 call for bids for 34 pumps used the wording on
how the pumps should be built and tested, with minor changes, found in
MWI catalogs.

The specifications were so similar that an
erroneous phrase in MWI catalogs — “the discharge tube and head
assembly shall be abrasive resistance steel” — also appears in the
Corps specifications. The phrase should say “abrasion resistant steel.”

Keep this in mind…

MWI employed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush’s
brother, to market its pumps during the 1980s, and top MWI officials
have been major contributors to the Republican Party.

Our government is broken.

 (For background on defective pumps)

UPDATE:Better AP article here. GAO has been investigating since news of defective pumps came to light. Another company that bid on the contract charges that MWI had “a head’s up” which was “evident by MWI’s order for pump engines before the contract was even put out to bid.”

UPDATE:Matt at Fix the Pumps blogwho has been documenting the many problems with the NOLA pumps had a post earlier this month on the rusted pump pipes. They were never painted.The bid specs never mentioned painting them which Matt stated was weird, as in baffling, because even the Corps’ Engineering Manual that deals with piping states protective coating should be applied to pipes. I guess that mystery is now solved.

Matt has pics of rusted pipes, rusted bolts and duct taped oil hoses.Must be seen to be believed.

UPDATE: 5/1/07…New revelation–Second bid solicitation using MWI’s specs in June 06–after Corps memo on MWI’s defective pumps–solicitation was cancelled when another bidder threatened to sue

11 thoughts on “Oh My! Government Bid Solicitation for those Defective New Orleans Pumps Used Specs from Catalog of Company that got Bid

  1. I saw this when it crossed the wires and I sensed a rumbling from your part of the country. Even after all we’ve seen, I can STILL be amazed at how screwed up this has gotten.

  2. Ah, once again, the “efficiency” of the private sector.
    Geez…I’d like to give the Bush family a “contract” to perpetually keep the nine (or eight, now that limbo’s been cancelled) circles of hell nice ‘n tidy…

  3. I would mind overpaying for contracts to Bush cronies a lot less if they did excellent work. But they don’t. I guess that’s why they need their crony connections.

  4. Hey Scout, remember way back when I said We need to see the contract? Well that is EXACTLY why. I worked with some people and that is an old trick, you give the company that is making the request YOUR specs, that way only YOU can meet them.
    It’s an old trick. I’m curious if any money changed hands to make it happen.
    Go, go GAO!

  5. So WTF is going on with barnacles in the last photo a tht Fix The Pumps link? Barnacles means salt water means even more corrosion than usual. (I grew up in Florida, we spent a lot of time messing around in boats, it’s really impressive how quickly things fall apart in the presence of salt spray.)
    And yes, Rustoleum rusty metal primer would be a Good Thing, even now. A distant relative in Vermont also extols the goodness of Husqvarna chainsaw bar lube (think “wax, plus phosphoric acid to stabilize the rust”). In either case, don’t drip it in the water.

  6. One wonders if the Bush maladministration just hoped that nothing that they fucked up would come to light until 2008. Or maybe they just don’t give a shit.

  7. Michael, this has nothing to do with the efficiency of the private sector. It’s all about government bungling and collusion. The private sector didn’t do all of this. The private-public sector argument is trite anymore, at best.

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