Mudcat Café message #1571465 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1571465
Posted By: Amos
27-Sep-05 - 09:53 AM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
The New York TImes in today's editorial disapproves of the rampant old-boyism steering the profits from Katrina's repair bill:

"...And there's more. An article in yesterday's Times by Eric Lipton and Ron Nixon reports that more than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by FEMA for Katrina work were awarded without bidding or with limited competition. The Times article even finds a federal employee - Richard Skinner, the inspector general for the Homeland Security Department - willing to go on the record with his concern, saying, "We are very apprehensive about what we are seeing."

So are we. The government is spending more than a quarter of a billion dollars every day on rescue, relief and reconstruction along the Gulf Coast. Anyone who pays taxes in America should be concerned about how the money is being spent and who is profiting. We think that when Congress appropriates money for disaster relief, the advantage should be maximized for the victims, not for the same cast of characters that have been profiting from no-bid contracts in Iraq. Kellogg, Brown & Root, Americans may recall, is the company that came up with those $100-per-bag laundry bills for work in Iraq.

All of this comes back to cronyism. The resignation of the FEMA chief, Michael Brown, was only one of the recent departures. The head of federal procurement policy at the Office of Management and Budget resigned just before he was arrested on charges of lying to federal investigators, and the Pentagon's former inspector general has left for the private sector but remains the target of a Congressional inquiry.

Last week, the Homeland Security Department appointed the National Weather Service's chief financial officer, Matthew Jadacki, to head a new Office for Hurricane Katrina Oversight. That's a step in the right direction. The office itself is a good idea, and Mr. Jadacki's experience is a welcome contrast with that of many of the inexperienced political appointees who have been exposed by this crisis. But the administration will have to go a lot further if it wants any chance of regaining the American people's trust, which it has so squandered. The true test of the new oversight office will be in its financing and staffing. America doesn't need a public relations stunt; it needs a functioning means of curbing abuse. "