The New York Times is reporting today:
Rosemary Barbour happens to be married to a nephew of Mississippi's governor, Haley Barbour. Since the Reagan administration, when Mrs. Barbour worked as a White House volunteer as a college student, she has been active in the Republican Party.
To some contract watchdogs, this could be an example of how the federal government responsibly reached out to give a piece of the billions of dollars in federal hurricane-recovery work to a small Mississippi-based company owned by a Latina. Mrs. Barbour, 39, who was born in Guatemala but now lives in Jackson, Miss., is certified by the United States Small Business Administration as a disadvantaged small-business owner.
But the $6.4 million in contracts received by her company, Alcatec L.L.C., have also elicited questions about possible favoritism.
Federal records show that the company has won at least 10 separate contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the General Services Administration to install and maintain showers for relief workers and evacuees, to deliver tents, and to provide laundry equipment. The most valuable were awarded in September and October without competitive bidding, the records show.
According to a review of federal contracts awarded since Hurricane Katrina, her company ranks seventh in total contracts out of 88 Mississippi-based concerns that have received deals worth $100,000 or more.
"This case should be scrutinized to ensure those awards were based on merits and ability to return value to the American taxpayer rather than favoritism to a politically connected contractor," said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington.
Mrs. Barbour, as well as spokesmen for FEMA and for Governor Barbour, all said in interviews Tuesday that Mrs. Barbour's family and political links to the Republican Party and the governor, as well as President Bush, did not play a role in her selection for the work.
"The governor had no knowledge whatsoever of Rosemary even receiving that contract," said Pete Smith, Mr. Barbour's press secretary.
Mrs. Barbour's husband, Charles Barbour, who is a member of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors in Jackson, is the son of Governor Barbour's oldest brother. Governor Barbour, a former lobbyist in Washington and chairman of the Republican National Committee and a long-time ally of President Bush, is part of the extended family, Mrs. Barbour said. And the two families see each other on social occasions.
Mrs. Barbour said she was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004 and served as the Hispanic coordinator for President Bush's re-election campaign in Mississippi.
My impersonation of the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz":
I hate nepotism, I hate nepotism, I do, I do, I do...
Wasn't there a recent story about no-bids contracts? Wasn't process of bidding instituted to help prevent this kind of nepotism in the first place? Ahhh, your tax dollars at work indeed!
Well, it's good to see that the Feds are investigating the Barbour family machine's shenanigans in the state. It amazes me that Mississippians are so quick to ignore his, er, "connections."
Why is our state such a magnet for corruption? Well, one could point a finger toward our statewide corporate newspaper that gives so many passes and reports so little until such crap is out of control.
All the Melton madness has me in a real bad mood this a.m. about The Clarion-Ledger. I just can't get over the level of journalistic irresponsibility they have shown.
At least the Ledge is running something on this- while it ain't much, it is something...
I forgot all about this. When I saw it on the news this week, I thought it was something new. Now I see it here again with a date of DECEMBER 2005.
From the C-L:
Employees allege Alcatec violated wage and overtime pay standards required in its FEMA contract to maintain thousands of travel trailers in Mississippi. Rosemary Barbour has said she relied on outside counsel to determine wages.
Nothing irks me more than ill-gotten gains.