Corruption until his very last day in office!
According to two sources and State Department grant records, in the final days of the Barack Hussein Obama administration, a $48 million State Department grant to a for-profit company for IED and other bomb removal services in Syria was rushed for approval. This grant has received scrutiny just a few weeks into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tenure.
This type of bombing and ordnance removal is considered extremely dangerous work but critically important for the safety of returning communities which were displaced by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Since these terrorist organizations tend to leave IED booby traps intended to maim or k**l returning families or government workers.
Late in the summer of 2016, a joint effort by foreign non-governmental organizations, NGOs, from Western Europe, local Iraqi groups, and Janus Global Operations, worked under State Department funding to clear bombs in Iraq. Janus, a for-profit company which is coined to be the largest munitions management and demining company in the world. And it present time the only American company which specializes in this type of work. In 2016 alone they cleared thousands of explosives planted by ISIS in Ramadi.
Then comes Optima which is a British company that calls itself the “leaders in explosive threat mitigation.” In mid-2016 Optima was surveying an area in Fallujah littered with IEDs and planning a major clearing operation.
Now here is where things get interesting. Despite the expertise and experience of these two companies and others operating in the region, in the final days of December 2016, as the Obama regime was coming to a end, state department officials in the Office of Near East Asia, Office of Assistance Coordination facilitated funding for a non-competitive grant to Tetra Tech.
Tetra Tech is an engineering company which specializes in construction management and has vastly limited experience in munitions and ordnance clearance than Janus, Optima, or NGOs such as HALO Trust, FSD/Crosstech, Mechem, and others. And this is the first time Tetra Tech has worked with The State Department’s PMWRA office. Needless to say all this has raised a few eyebrows.
Could this be another one of the Obama Regime’s kickbacks? We will just have to wait and see.
Here is more on this via The Free Beacon:
“According to the website USAspending.gov, the State Department’s PMWRA Office provided the grant money for “Syrian Conventional Weapons Destruction” with the funds doled out in tranches for work performed over the course of two years and two months.
The first award of $8 million was provided Dec. 29, 2016, with another $8 million coming March 29, 2017. The State Department doled out another $30 million May 5, 2017, and provided the final $2.4 million Sept. 21, 2017.
While the publicly available grant award information is currently listed for $48 million, it was eventually worth more than $150 million as Germany and other countries directed funds to Tetra Tech for Syria’s IED clean-up efforts, sources said.
A Defense One report in August 2016 noted that the State Department had just secured $86 million from 26 countries for demining efforts over the next three years.
The awarding of a “no-bid” grant, instead of allowing several companies to compete for a government contract through the paper-intensive and time-consuming government bidding process, raised immediate questions about the project’s selection process in the government contracting community, the sources said.
Patrick Kernan, a government contracting attorney who previously served as the chief of contract fiscal law for the Multinational Force in Iraq as a U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, said a U.S. government agency providing a grant to a large, for-profit company is unusual and raises legal red flags.
Whether it broke any laws or State Department procedures and rules, he said, would depend on internal paperwork and whether the officials involved precisely followed all the agency’s grant rules.
“[It] sounds like a way to circumvent the strict sole-source contracting rules by pushing money into a grant process,” which provides far less oversight than the regular contracts, he said in an email. “It sounds like a pretty broad problem that needs some legislation to fix.”
Usually grants are awarded instead of contracts to NGOs and other entities for projects aimed at benefitting the public good, instead of simply providing a service to the U.S. government. However, critics say federal agencies are increasingly doling out grants as a way to streamline the process and provide lucrative contracts to a select contractor and avoid subjecting the contractor to the competitive bidding process. The grants are doled out as a way to streamline the process and provide lucrative contracts to a select contractor and avoid subjecting the contractor to the competitive bidding process.
The practice has drawn scrutiny from government inspectors general. In one case in 2007, the Labor Department’s inspector general found that 90 percent of non-competitive grants examined in detail (35 out of 39) were processed in a way that did not conform with proper procedure.
If the PMWRA truly believed a grant was warranted, critics question why it didn’t ask other private commercial companies with more experience in IED clearance to set up special NGOs to bid on the project.
Critics of the Tetra Tech IED removal grant also question a subsidiary of Tetra Tech’s hiring of a low-level program coordinator who worked at PMWRA, as the administrative assistant to PMWRA Office Director Stanley Brown until the end of 2017.
Late last year or early this year, the PMWRA coordinator was hired by Tetra Tech subsidiary PRO-telligent to serve as a “grants management specialist” for the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination, according to the employee’s LinkedIn profile.
That NEA office initiated plans to award the $48 million grant to Tetra Tech, before PMWRA signed off on it.
The grants management specialist position helps with “internal and external oversight” of U.S. foreign assistance programs in the Middle East.
U.S. laws bar a former government employee involved in the procurement of a government contract worth $10 million or more from going to work for the company who received the contract for one year.
Those laws, however, specifically apply to contracts, not grants, according to Kernan.
Most contract workers—even those that help staff State Department offices—are largely exempt from the revolving-door laws, he said.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics, which provides ethics guidance to all federal employees, points out that there is a criminal conflict of interest statute prohibiting a government employee from “participating personally and substantially, in an official capacity, in any ‘particular matter’ that would have a direct and predictable effect on the employee’s own financial interests.”
“Even in the government contract context, there are ways to get around those rules, so it is a real fact-specific inquiry,” Kernan told the Washington Free Beacon.
Questions on Tetra Tech’s safety record arose after the high-profile d***h of one of its employees while he was clearing bombs ISIS left in Raqqa, Syria, in October last year.
The employee was a 41-year-old British bomb disposal expert who had spent 20 years in the British Army’s bomb disposal units in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Tetra Tech’s spokeswoman Charlie MacPherson referred all of the Free Beacon’s questions to the State Department.”