Diary

UPDATE: Could this be the Democrats “Haliburton”?

In his SOTU address and during his appearance at the recent GOP Retreat in Baltimore, which I’ve refered to as “Obama shooting the Democratic party in the foot”, the President said:

“Let’s do the people’s business in the light of day, together, Republicans and Democrats”.

That’s an upbeat bipartisan sounding sentiment isn’t it, I mean, who would argue with that?

The problem is, its the ‘administration’s business’ that Obama doesn’t want to be seen “in the light of day”.

In my January 25th post, Could this be the Democrats “Haliburton”?, I reported that in spite of his campaign promise that, “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House”, the Obama administration had awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids.

According to the original FOX News article…

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.

A synopsis of the contract published on the USAID Web site says Checchi & Company will “train the next generation of legal professionals” throughout the Afghan provinces and thereby “develop the capacity of Afghanistan’s justice system to be accessible, reliable, and fair.”

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.”

In my previous post I stated with tongue-in-cheek, that the ‘outrage’ and demands for prosecution would be just as strong as it still is for the “Haliburton Deal” when word of the Checchi & Company deal became widely known.

So, other than FOX News, what have I heard about it from the lame-stream media, MSNBC, CNN and the liberal bloggers?

Well, let’s just say that “the light of day” Obama referred to must be as bright as an Alaskan winter.

But, thanks to the sunshine provided by FOX News and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I’m happy to announce that The U.S. has canceled the Checchi & Company deal, and according to a statement from State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley, is now working on an appropriate resolution.

Joseph A. Fredericks, director of public information at USAID, told Fox News the Checchi deal was actually a renewal of an existing contract, awarded in 2004 by the Bush administration after a competitive bid process.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News the no-bid contract in this case “disturbed” him.

Issa had written to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah requesting that the agency “produce all documents related to the Checchi contract” on or before Feb. 5. Citing the waiver that enabled USAID to award the contract on a no-bid basis, Issa noted that the exemption was intended to speed up the provision of services in a crisis environment.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, told Fox News she, too, was seeking answers about the Checchi contract.

Of course, we knew it would somehow end up being Bush’s fault didn’t we? And what does the administration have to say about “the deal’?

“If you want to say this violates the basis on which this administration came into office and campaigned, fair enough,” Crowley told Fox News.

Hmm, what I want to know Mr. Crowley, is what is in the documents that Rep. Issa requested that this administration doesn’t want to be seen “in the light of day”?