Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBottom Line Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill MORE (R-Iowa) questioned why Bank of America has received an exclusive prison contract without having to bid for the business.

“The government has competitive bidding for good reason. It’s meant to get taxpayers the most bang for the buck,” Grassley said Monday. “Anytime the government avoids competitive bidding, the practice needs exploration.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Grassley said “transparency” would help determine if the federal government is truly getting the best deal by paying Bank of America to operate services for federal prison inmates, such as money transfers and e-messaging.

Grassley’s comments were prompted by a recent Center for Public Integrity report that found the Treasury Department has amended a nearly $75 million contract with Bank of America more than 20 times without opening a competitive bidding process.

Grassley said the Treasury Department has the right to make such deal, but he questioned why.

“It is concerning that these requirements do not apply to financial agency agreements such as the one with Bank of America,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewHogan urges Mnuchin to reconsider delay of Harriet Tubman bill Mnuchin says new Harriet Tubman bill delayed until 2028 Overnight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint MORE. “The Treasury Department’s decision to repeatedly amend rather than competitively bid this arrangement raises significant questions.”