By Michelle Malkin • January 25, 2010 12:26 PM
No corruption-scented no-bid contracts…except for Barack Obama’s own cronies, that is. James Rosen at FNC has the scoop:
The Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a prominent Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
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.
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.”
Contacted by Fox News, Checchi confirmed that his company had indeed received the nearly $25 million contract but declined to say why it had been awarded on a no-bid basis, referring a reporter to USAID.
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.”
Checchi has donated to Team Obama, MoveOn, the DNC, and ActBlue, among other left-wing entities.
Flashback March 2009:
Obama promises to limit no-bid contracts
Says $40 billion could be saved every year
WASHINGTON – President Obama ordered an overhaul yesterday of the way the US government awards defense and other contracts, saying that more competition is needed to drive down costs and declaring that “the days of giving government contractors a blank check are over.”
Obama joined Senator John McCain, his Republican presidential campaign rival, and other congressional figures to promise taxpayers savings of as much as $40 billion a year, in part by limiting no-bid contracts.
Even in good economic times, contracting reform would be overdue in Washington, Obama said, but with the recession, “It’s time for this waste and inefficiency to end. It’s time for a government that only invests in what works.”
The president announced an executive memorandum that directs his budget director, Peter Orszag, to work with Cabinet and agency officials to come up by July 1 with a way to review existing contracts for waste or fraud.
By the end of September, Orszag is to come up with new rules designed to make it more difficult for contractors to cheat taxpayers by strengthening oversight and ending unnecessary no-bid contracts and “cost-plus” contracts that allow price tags to escalate. The new rules would also make some half-trillion dollars in federal contracts each year more accessible to independent contractors.