AP, NYT Not Yet Reporting $433M Perelman-Smallpox Cronyism Story

A story first broken by David Willman at the Los Angeles Times on Friday (the story is currently dated November 13, but the first comment appeared late Friday evening Pacific Time) is going almost nowhere in the rest of the establishment press. I wonder why?

No, I really don't, and neither will most readers here once they see what it's all about, namely Obama administration corruption and crony capitalism (bolds are mine):


Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal
A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a "sole-source" procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation's biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government's specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

... Perelman and others at Siga's affiliate, MacAndrews & Forbes, have long been major political donors. They gave a total of $607,550 to federal campaigns for the 2008 and 2010 elections, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. About 65% of that money went to Democrats. Perelman donated an additional $50,000 to President Obama's inauguration.

... the federal contract required that the winning bidder be a small business, with no more than 500 employees. Chimerix Inc., a North Carolina company that had competed for the contract, protested, saying Siga was too big.

Officials at the Small Business Administration investigated and quickly agreed, finding that Siga's affiliation with MacAndrews & Forbes disqualified it.

The excerpt hardly does the much longer story justice. The abuses and process-rigging just go on and on and on. Read the whole thing.

Yet we still have clowns like Jonathan Alter and Allan Lichtman running around claiming the administration is scandal-free. Zheesh.

You won't be able to read about Siga at the Associated Press. Searches at the AP's main site on "smallpox" and "Perelman" come up empty. A search at the New York Times on "smallpox" returns nothing relevant. A Google News search on "smallpox Perelman" (not in quotes, for the past week, sorted by date) returns a whopping five items. Two of them are versions of the LA Times story, one is from Fox News, and another is at a site called ThirdAge.com. The fifth item is from the AP's sort-of competitor United Press International (UPI).

I guess being behind the dismally small UPI in covering (or potentially even not covering) a story of Washington corruption, rule-bending, rule-breaking, and campaign-contributions cronyism doesn't bother the Essential Global News Network -- as long as it's the Obama administration and not that of a Republican or conservative. That why characterizing the wire service as The Administration's Press is appropriate.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.