Obama Gave No-Bid Afghanistan Contract to Dem Donor (UPDATED)

Fox News and conservative blogs covered this story,  while Obama’s dutiful MSM ignored it.  Nonetheless, enough attention was drawn to this to force Obama into withdrawing the contract.

The U.S. has canceled a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan awarded to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor who did not face competitive bids.

The cancellation comes after Fox News first reported on the details of the contract last week, prompting lawmakers to make inquiries into the deal.  

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said that USAID terminated the award and is now working on an appropriate resolution.

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

The contract had been awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi that was hired to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/30/cancels-bid-contract-afghan-work-democractic-donor/

Just a few things the media thougth was “newsworthy”. (Hint: It wasn’t any of Obama’s conflict of interests or sweetheart deals), at the link:
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/rusty-weiss/2010/01/31/obama-continues-break-promises-media-ignores

Say it ain’t so.

Despite…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.” 

“I think the administration should explain what the decision was based on, and why a no-bid contract was given in this case, particularly given that Mr. Obama came in on a pledge of ‘no more no-bid contracts,'” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. 

“There’s really no explanation of why they had to make an exception in this case. And based on the facts before us, it doesn’t appear that there was a need for an exception. It’s not as if this was something urgently needed today; they couldn’t have taken the time to get the bids, and make sure that American people were getting the best value,” she added. 
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/25/obama-administration-steers-lucrative-bid-contract-afghan-work-dem-donor/

Remember: All of Obama’s promises are subject to “change”.

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