Only Republican Groups Get Controversial No-Bid Contracts?

September 14th, 2005 12:05 PM

In another New York Times story seemingly spurred by Democratic complaints, Philip Shenon reports Wednesday: "The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane Katrina and would investigate how no-bid contracts were awarded to several large, politically well-connected companies."Of course, there's an Iraq connection: "Their comments appeared to be a response, in part, to charges from Democratic lawmakers that such a large, hurriedly organized federal relief program could produce the sort of contract abuses, cronyism and waste that numerous investigations have identified in the Bush administration's reconstruction programs in postwar Iraq."

"[IG Richard Skinner] said that his investigators would focus on several no-bid contracts awarded over the last two weeks to large, politically influential companies, including the Fluor Corporation of California, a major donor to the Republican Party, and the Shaw Group of Baton Rouge, La. Shaw is a client of Joe M. Allbaugh, a consultant who is the former head of FEMA and was President Bush's campaign manager in 2000. Another of Mr. Allbaugh's clients -- Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the giant defense contractor once led by Vice President Dick Cheney -- is doing major repairs at Navy facilities along the Gulf Coast that were damaged by the hurricane. That work is being done under a $500 million contract with the Defense Department."

Shenon leaves the impression that the only controversial ties at issue are to Republicans. But as Michelle Malkin notes, the Shaw Group that Shenon mentions in a Republican context is in fact a Democratic institution.

Malkin notes the "multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, is headed by Jim Bernhard, the current chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Bernhard worked tirelessly for Democrat Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's runoff campaign and served as co-chair of her transition team. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager."

None of those details made it into the Times story.

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