JANUARY 11, 2010
In the never ending list of examples of fraud and abuse in President Obama’s massive stimulus program, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are going to large corporations with documented histories of criminal practices in one state alone.
Several big—and no doubt politically connected—firms in California are raking in lucrative government stimulus contracts despite previous pollution violations, criminal probes and allegations of fraud, according to a local newspaper investigation. The businesses are all doing work in a relatively concentrated area of southern California, despite their shady pasts.
In Ventura County, airplane and defense contractor Boeing got a $16 million stimulus contract for environmental monitoring at the same county site (Simi Valley) where the company was fined for polluting a creek with chromium, dioxin, lead and mercury. A construction company facing three federal criminal probes for fraud got a $6.4 million stimulus deal to repair roads in three counties and a Denver-based firm that dished out $3 million to settle a lawsuit over operating rodent-infested buildings littered with safety hazards got $13 million to rehabilitate a housing complex in Los Angeles.
These are just a few recent examples of the pervasive corruption in the monstrous $787 billion stimulus that Obama promised would jumpstart the economy and put Americans back to work. Instead, unemployment is at an all-time high and tens of billions of dollars have been lost to waste, fraud and abuse. Much of the wasteful spending was documented early on in a lengthy congressional report (A Second Opinion on the Stimulus) that reviews the first few thousand projects.
Among them is a $3 million turtle crossing in northern Florida, the $10 million renovation of an abandoned train station that has been shut for three decades and 10,000 dead people getting Social Security stimulus checks. Nearly $16 million went to repair dozens of seldom-used bridges in rural areas of Wisconsin, $2 million to a nonprofit that bungled a federal low-income housing program and $1 million to build a guardrail around a nonexistent Oklahoma lake.
Just last month Hillary Clinton’s longtime confidant and chief campaign strategist got $6 million in federal stimulus funds to save three jobs at his global public relations firm. A cut of the money went to one of Obama’s top Florida advisers, a Cuban-American lobbyist who pushed hard for the president in Dade County’s traditionally Republican Hispanic market.
A few months ago the Department of Defense awarded $30 million in federal stimulus contracts to half a dozen companies under criminal investigation for defrauding the government. The six firms actually got the lucrative Pentagon deals while they were under federal criminal investigation for cheating the government.
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