January 25, 2010

Fox Reporting $25 Mil No-Bid Contract Went to Dem Donor

Checchi

I don’t know why I’m relaying this to readers. After all, according to former White House Communications Director Anita “Mao Inspires Me” Dunn, it’s not coming from a real news organization. Her successor, Dan Pfeiffer, agrees. So does David Axelrod.

But on the off chance that what follows might actually mean something, here is an excerpt from a lengthy piece of investigative journalism from Fox News’s James Rosen (HT to an e-mailer):

Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor

Despite President Obama’s long history of criticizing the Bush administration for “sweetheart deals” with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.

The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan.

…. The legality of the arrangement as a “sole source,” or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver signed by the USAID administrator. “They cancelled the open bid on this when they came to power earlier this year,” a source familiar with the federal contracting process told Fox News.

“That’s kind of weird,” said another source, who has worked on “rule of law” issues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about the no-bid contract to Checchi & Company. “There’s lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work.”

…. Asked if he or his firm had been aware that the contract was awarded without competitive bids, Checchi replied: “After it was awarded to us, sure. Before, we had no idea.”

…. Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too “busy” to comment on it. “I’ll tell it to the people in Haiti,” Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.

…. As a candidate for president in 2008, then-Sen. Obama frequently derided the Bush administration for the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding.

“I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” the senator told a Grand Rapids audience on Oct. 2. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.”

…. The records show Checchi has given at least $4,400 to Obama dating back to March 2007, close to the maximum amount allowed. The contractor has also made donations to various arms of the Democratic National Committee, to liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org and ActBlue, and to other party politicians like Sen. John F. Kerry, former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont.

I seem to recall that the “sweetheart deals” for Halliburton were often sole-sourced because Halliburton was the only company that could credibly claim to have the capabilities required. Rosen’s report indicates that this clearly isn’t the case with the work awarded to Checchi (home page; “about” page; “scope of services” page).

So …. will the rest of the establishment press risk the tattered remnants of its credibility, follow the White House’s suggestion, and ignore the story because it’s coming from Fox? Stay tuned.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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2 Comments

  1. Obama is the most brazenly hypocritical president I have ever seen. Him and the Halliburton conspiracy theorists know full well that that company has been the go to folks for many decades now for both Dem and Repub administrations when it comes to defense contracts because they have the best capabilities. The “sweetheart deal” stuff was a load of tripe. But this…I have never even heard of Checchi…sounds like a fashion outlet.

    Comment by zf — January 25, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

  2. [...] of other establishment media outlets concerning an item I blogged about on Monday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), namely the news reported by Fox’s James Rosen that a prominent Obama donor’s firm had [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — January 27, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

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