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September 13, 2005

No-Bid Contracts: A Way of Life
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

All the things wrong with no-bid contracting for Katrina - and the things that ought to be happening instead - are laid out in this post.

But here's what the Washington Post says is actually happening:

The agency has already begun awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid Katrina contracts under loosened government rules designed to get relief and rebuilding efforts underway quickly. As the money begins to flow, some fear the agency could become overwhelmed. "They've never spent anything even remotely on this scale. So the real question is going to be what kind of controls are in place," said Bill Jenkins, who monitors FEMA for the Government Accountability Office. "There are going to be fraudsters coming out of the woodwork." . . . .

Last week FEMA gave out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts to engineering and construction firms to build an estimated 300,000 temporary housing units. Those contracts were awarded without competition under rules that allow agencies to bypass normal procedures during an emergency. Several went to companies that have been major financial supporters of the Bush administration. One firm, Shaw Group Inc., of Baton Rouge, is on the client list of lobbyist and former FEMA director Joe M. Allbaugh, though he has said he does not get involved with contracts. . . .

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), the ranking minority member on the Senate committee overseeing FEMA, said last night that he has discussed with [Sen Susan] Collins [Maine] the idea of a special IG to monitor Katrina spending. "Congress has to be very aggressive in making sure that in our haste to help we aren't wasting an enormous amount of public money, or worse, having it used in a way that's corrupt," he said.

In addition to making sure the American public doesn't get bilked, Congress ought to also see to it that the businesses and people of New Orleans get in on the action.  Otherwise that great city may get rebuilt, with no one who wants to go back and live there.


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I never thought that I would see the day where a US government could out-Somoza Anastasios Somoza from Nicaragua, but Dubya and the posse are managing to do it. Just the infamous scorpion from that old fable, Dubya and his cronies just can't help themselves and act like the crooks and thieves they've always been and always will be. If plunder of the treasury during a time of war isn't treason, then I don't know what is. Where's Lt. Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Loan when you really need him?

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