Whitefish Energy hires lobbyist amid Puerto Rico scrutiny
Whitefish Energy Holdings has hired a federal lobbyist to represent it amid growing scrutiny of its hurricane recovery contract with Puerto Rico’s electric utility.
Dennis Cardoza, a former Democratic California congressman who works for the law and lobbying firm Foley & Lardner, said Monday that he is the main lobbyist on the agreement that Whitefish signed last week.
“Right now the effort by Foley is being done so that Whitefish has representation in DC,” Ken Luce, a spokesman for Whitefish, said in a statement.
“Whitefish Energy has a reputation to uphold and we felt that Foley would help us in being able to have those conversations in a productive manner,” Luce said.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) announced Sunday that it would cancel the contract with Whitefish. Meanwhile, two House committees, Puerto Rico’s government and the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general are investigating the deal.
Whitefish has been embroiled in controversy since it was revealed that PREPA gave the company a $300 million no-bid contract to restore infrastructure after Hurricane Maria wiped out electrical service on the island.
The company had little experience in utility repair and only a handful of employees before Maria hit. Whitefish and its CEO, Andy Techmanski, share a hometown with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, though both parties have forcefully denied that the connection played any role in Whitefish getting the contract.
Cardoza said his firm will file disclosure paperwork for the lobbying agreement with congressional officials soon. Foley had already been retained by Whitefish for legal work.
Politico first reported the lobbying agreement Monday.