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September 23, 2005

Corruption Is Dangerous

-- by Dave Johnson

FEMA had contracted out the job of arranging transportation for the evacuation of New Orleans to a Republican Party-connected outfit. That company completely flubbed the job. So they get new, huge contracts following Katrina.

Through Atrios, Chicago Tribune | Offer of buses fell between the cracks. From the story:

...eventually learned that the job of extracting tens of thousands of residents from flooded New Orleans wasn't being handled by FEMA at all.

Instead the agency had farmed the work out to a trucking logistics firm, Landstar Express America, which in turn hired a limousine company, which in turn engaged a travel management company.

[. . .]In a regulatory filing last week, Landstar Express said it has received government orders worth at least $125 million for Katrina-related work. It's not known how much of that total pertains to the bus evacuation.

Landstar Express is a subsidiary of Landstar System, a $2 billion company whose board chairman, Jeff Crowe, also was chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the nation's premier business lobbies, from June 2003 until May 2004.

[. . .] Whatever happens likely will be good for Landstar's bottom line. Landstar's regulatory filing also said that because of Hurricane Katrina, the maximum annual value of its government contract for disaster relief services has been increased to $400 million.

So it's not just that The Party purged FEMA of competent professionals and replaced them with Party hacks; they turned the agency's money over to the Party as well as the jobs.

Here's the question: How much of our government has been turned over to Republican Party cronies? How much of our taxpayer money is being fed into this circle of corruption/camaign contributions?

Posted by Dave Johnson at September 23, 2005 9:05 AM

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Comments

Well, we already know this is what's been going on in Iraq. I suspect that we'll gradually learn that this is also true not only of FEMA but of every other government agency we depend on for our health and safety. Perhaps the next question should be: What's going on with the Army Corps of Engineers? Is it still an active Corps of Engineers, or does it, too, simply dole out contracts to political favorites? Take a look at its website and its list of contracts. They wouldn't dare, you say? Why not? Who's to stop them from turning the recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast into an unsupervised political bonanza? Who's going to be held accountable for the quality of the work?

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2005 11:53 AM

Randi Rhodes's theory in answer to the perpetually pesky question of why -- really why -- are the Bushies in Iraq is initially quite incredible, even to a "no matter how cynical you are, you can never catch up" cynic like me. She says they are intentionally creating chaos because that makes it easy to steal. Simple as that. You know, it's exactly right.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2005 12:38 PM

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