Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama steers lucrative no-bid contract to Dem donor, violates campaign pledge and Presidential memorandum

From Fox News:
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 legality of the arrangement as a "sole source," or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver... "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... "There's lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work."...

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."...

Less than two months after he was sworn into office, President Obama signed a memorandum that he claimed would "dramatically reform the way we do business on contracts across the entire government."

Flanked by aides and lawmakers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 4, Obama vowed to "end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts," adding: "In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition….And that's completely unacceptable."

The March 4 memorandum directed the Office of Management and Budget to "maximize the use of full and open competition" in the awarding of federal contracts.
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