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Corruption Chronicles

Questionable Government Contracts

More than 80% of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by FEMA for hurricane Katrina-related work were awarded without bidding or with very limited competition.

Why? Because many of the firms awarded the major contracts have big political connections, not only to Mississippi’s governor but also to President George W. Bush.

Among the firms is a Pompano Beach Florida company named AshBritt, which has strong ties to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and so far this year has paid $40,000 to the lobbying firm (Barbour Griffith & Rogers) co-founded by the governor. AshBritt signed a large $568 million contract for trash removal.

There is more, of course. The Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton) have both been represented by Joe Allbaugh, President Bush’s former campaign manager and the former head of FEMA.


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