FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
White House Graft With A Union Label?
You may remember Andy Stern. Once upon a time, Stern was known as the hand inside Barack Obama’s puppet—the SEIU boss in a purple scarf whose union the candidate from Chicago once pledged his allegiance to.
It was Stern who, after breaking up the AFL-CIO, became embroiled in controversies from California to Washington. Then, shortly after taking credit for getting ObamaCare passed, Stern left the union movement abruptly last year and joined the corporate board of bio-warfare company, SIGA, with options to buy 35,000 shares at $6.84 per share.
Many were perplexed at his move from the avante garde of Marxist unionism to the neo-bourgeoisie of crony capitalism. However, it soon became apparent when SIGA’s CEO, Eric Rose, cooed upon Stern’s arrival:
Andy is a strong leader and a great addition to our Board of Directors. His insight, experience, and leadership, particularly his understanding of how our federal government works, will complement the skill sets of our existing board members.
Shortly after Stern joined SIGA’s board, his understanding of how the federal government works paid off for SIGA when the bio-warfare firm received a no-bid contract valued up to $2.8 billion. Of course, that was before the mid-term election, when Democrats still believed they were accountable to no one except union bosses.
Now, according to CNBC, two congressional committees are looking at whether SIGA’s connections with the Obama Administration may have been behind the no-bid contract.
Capitol Hill’s top investigator, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said he wants documents from the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services relating to the award of a no-bid contract worth up to $2.8 billion, and he is demanding to know what the White House’s role was, if any, in prodding the HHS to sign off on the enormous pharmaceutical deal.
In a letter dated June 9, Reps. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius raising concerns about the contract, which was awarded in May to SIGA Technologies.
One person familiar with the situation said he’s worried the company’s Democratic political connections could have improperly affected the deal.
MacAndrews & Forbes’ political action committee contributed $266,136 in the 2010 election cycle, 64 percent to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
SIGA is well connected politically: Andy Stern, one of the United States’ top labor leaders and a close ally of the Obama White House, sits on SIGA’s board, along with Frances Fragos Townsend, the former Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush.
In the June 9 letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNBC, the two men write that their committees are “concerned about the procurement process used to select SIGA and the Department’s apparent indifference toward its obligation to obtain full and open competition.”
Separately, Issa has vowed tenaciousness toward getting answers to his questions.
“I am concerned about it,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) of the possibility that Perelman was involved in pushing for the contract. “We may never get to the bottom of it, but we’re going to keep asking the question.”
In a brief interview Wednesday, Issa said he is investigating what he sees as a broader pattern in Washington in which Democrats have used federal machinery to reward supporters and allies.
Of course, it’s really not “graft” when unions and Democrats do it, right?
After all, Democrats are fighting to protect the middle class from all those Big Money people who take advantage of their political connections…
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776