Top Democrats call on Pentagon to review border wall contract
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) are urging the acting Inspector General of the Department of Defense to launch a review into a contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for constructing part of President Trump’s border wall.
The lawmakers highlighted a $569 million contract awarded to BFBC, an affiliate of Barnard Construction, for the construction of 17 miles of the wall in California.
The Democratic lawmakers argue the company, which they noted is led by a Republican campaign donor, is being paid 50 percent more than market price for the project.
The contract “raises serious questions about both potential government waste and the fairness of the procurement process,” they wrote in Thursday’s letter, asking for “a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding this award.”
“We have numerous questions about whether federal procurement law may have been subverted in order to reward a political ally of the administration,” they added.
Warren and Thompson noted that at a time when the country is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, “taxpayer funds must not be wasted, and Federal procurement processes must not favor campaign donors or personal favorites of the President.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also raised concerns about the contract, saying last week that it “raises troubling questions.”
“The contracting process should be merit-based and free from political influence and corruption. Equally important is the fact that at a time when the Trump Administration should be mobilizing resources, including the Army Corps of Engineers, to help effectively combat coronavirus and save lives, the Trump Administration is instead directing half a billion dollars to a no-bid contract to build an ineffective wall,” he said in the statement.
Neither Barnard Construction nor the Army Corps of Engineers immediately responded to requests for comment from The Hill.
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