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Corruption Chronicles

Americans Pay Millions To Clean Mexican Sewage

The president’s proposed 2008 budget includes nearly $72 million to rid U.S. beaches of the Mexican sewage that for decades has infested them even though the government already has a contract with a politically-connected company to do the work.

In case the private contractor doesn’t deliver, President George W. Bush has set aside more taxpayer money to treat the millions of gallons of raw sewage that flow daily from Tijuana into Southern California communities and beaches. Pollution caused by the raw sewage frequently closes beaches and damages wildlife on the U.S. side of the border.

The U.S. Government already granted a company a lucrative no-bid contract to treat the waste, but it has missed crucial deadlines spelled out in the deal estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The project was controversial from the start because a group of politically-connected executives created a company in 1996 solely to get the lucrative no-bid government contract to treat the waste.

They named the company Bajagua and spent hundred of thousands of dollars lobbying government officials and politicians to secure a 20-year contract worth about $600 million. An organization dedicated to exposing corruption at Bajagua claims that taxpayer money will be wasted because the company cannot solve the persistent and long-standing waste water problems that affect the Tijuana Estuary.

The group has exposed many of the Southern California lawmakers who pushed legislation to contract Bajagua and received generous campaign contributions from several of its founders. For instance, Democratic Representative Bob Filner has received at least $61,000 from Bajagua principals and their family members and Republican Duncan Hunter has received at least $9,000.

Whether Bajagua delivers on its contract or the U.S. Government uses the president’s recently allocated funds, one thing is for sure; Americans will pay millions to clean up Mexican waste.


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