No, it’s not as if this whole deal, allowing a small, 2-man operation out of Montana to take on the plum contract of repairing Puerto Rico’s electrical grid seems suspect or should raise red flags.
Specifically, I’m referring to Whitefish Energy, the 2-year old, 2-man electrical company out of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown, that out of all electrical contractors, were mysteriously awarded the $300 million contract to restore power to Puerto Rico, devastated after being sacked by two consecutive hurricanes.
While there are plenty of eyebrows raising about just the fact that a tiny, budding company would be awarded such a massive contract, to handle a critical job, prepare to have your eyebrows orbit your skull.
The deal struck between the government and this upstart company states that the government is prohibited from asking anything about the job being done by Whitefish Energy.
By “anything” I mean, not how long it will take, how much it is costing, or what they do with the $300 million.
If they do a crappy, incomplete job after 10 years on the island: Tough!
They signed the deal with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), and it also states the government can’t ask questions related to any delays.
In other words, with 80 percent of the island still struggling without power, if some of those 80 percent still find themselves living without power 10 years from now, sucks to be them.
A reporter managed to get a copy of the agreement:
Get that? They can’t even audit or review. Whitefish was given the keys and are now allowed to do whatever, however, with a taxpayer-funded contract.
That’s kind of… insane.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed, however.
Two House committees and a federal watchdog have all opened investigations into the deal. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has called for the deal to be voided and investigated after representatives for the company feuded with her on Twitter and asked her if she wanted them to stop working.
“We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?” Whitefish Energy tweeted to the mayor Wednesday.
“They are threatening not to do their job which frankly is quite irregular for a company hired to the work for the public sector,” she tweeted in response.
And before anyone points out that Cruz was a Hillary supporter (as if that has anything to do with this), Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee have some considerable unease about the deal, as well.
“The size and terms of the contract, as well as the circumstances surrounding the contract’s formation, raise questions regarding PREPA’s standard contract awarding procedures,” Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) wrote Thursday.
Whitefish says they welcome the investigations.
Just how welcome, however, is something we’ll be able to assess, once the investigations begin.