Democrats demand answers from migrant children's shelter company that hired John Kelly

Democrats demand answers from migrant children's shelter company that hired John Kelly
© White House YouTube

Two Democratic lawmakers want the company operating the country’s largest shelter for migrant children to explain why it hired former Trump White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE to serve on its board of directors.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter knocks Zuckerberg for invoking her father while defending Facebook Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors MORE (Mass.) and Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors Warren faces tougher sell with 'Medicare for All' Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Buttigieg targets Warren, Sanders on health care ahead of debate | Judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections | Poll sees support drop for 'Medicare for All' MORE (Wash.) sent a letter Thursday to the CEO of Caliburn International asking questions ranging from Kelly's compensation to company revenue from operating shelters for unaccompanied migrant children.

ADVERTISEMENT
Caliburn International is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, which runs the Homestead shelter in Florida and three facilities in Texas.

The lawmakers cited reports that indicate that Comprehensive Health Services could receive more than $340 million in federal contract payments in just six months to operate the Homestead site, which is expanding to hold 3,200 beds for unaccompanied children.

“General Kelly ... was at the center of the inhumane and poorly planned immigration policies that put children in cages while separating thousands of families and that benefitted your company," Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, and Jayapal wrote.

“General Kelly's role in promoting and helping execute these cruel immigration policies remains a stain on his decades of public service. It is outrageous that he now appears to be cashing in on those same policies,” they added.

The lawmakers gave the company until June 20 to respond. Caliburn did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

While serving as White House chief of staff, Kelly defended the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families while the adults were prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE ended the controversial policy last year.

Prior to joining the White House in January 2017, Kelly served on the board of the investment firm DC Capital Partners, which purchased Comprehensive Health Services in 2018 and combined it with three other companies to form Caliburn.

The Caliburn board includes former high-ranking military personnel among its members, such as retired Adm. James Stavridis, Gen. Anthony Zinni and Rear Adm. Kathleen Martin.

Warren and Jayapal noted that Caliburn's compensation policy for board members suggests Kelly stands to make at least “an annual cash retainer of $100,000” in his new role.

“General Kelly's decision to serve in this capacity raises serious questions about ethics and conflicts of interest given the significant role he played in implementing the policies that are enriching your company,” the lawmakers wrote.

Last month, Warren wrote to Kelly and called on him to resign the Caliburn board immediately.