Swampy: ICE blew $17 million on “largely unused” beds at southern border in no-bid contract to inept contractor

Share:

The following includes editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

WASHINGTON, DC- In today’s version of swamp watch, the New York Post tells us that ICE officials last year wasted some $17 million on unused hotels for migrants last year, on the heels of hiring a politically-connected contractor who did not meet COVID-19 protocols, according to a government watchdog.

Hey, when the government routinely blows billions if not trillions of dollars, $17 million is chump change. But still…

In 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement signed an $87 million contract with a nonprofit, Endeavors, which was tasked with providing services for the Biden administration-induced surge of illegals crossing the southern border, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General said in a report last week.

Of course, Ice sought multiple bids for that contract, right? Not so much. They signed onto what’s called a “sole source” deal with Endeavors, with a requirement the agency pay for a block of some 1,200 hotel rooms, no matter how many of them were actually used, the watchdog said.

The result of that obvious blunder is that the government was contractually obligated to pay Endeavors $17 million for the hotel rooms, which sat mostly empty, between April and June 2021, the report said.

“ICE’s sole source contract with Endeavors resulted in millions of dollars being spend on unused hotel space,” it read.

“We reviewed costs and usage rates at hotels operated by Endeavors to house migrant families between the dates the hotels opened and June 2021 and found none of the facilities used more than half of the number of beds ICE paid for under its contract,” the IG report read.  

Moreover, Endeavors put “migrant families and the outside population at risk of contracting COVID-19” by failing to follow testing procedures prior to transporting illegals, officials said.

The inspector general also found no justification for the use of a sole source contract to begin with. Endeavors “had no experience providing the services covered by the sole source contract, including hotel beds or all-inclusive family residential services,” the report explained.

The IG said the non-profit, based in Texas, failed to provide snacks and storage areas for migrant families, which was a requirement established under ICE guidelines. The Post said that “spotty surveillance and document security” at the facilities run by Endeavors was also concerning.

As bad as that was, the mismanagement by Endeavors was revealed at the same time they were entering into another no-bid contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this contract more lucrative than the last.

That deal garnered attention because in true swampy fashion, it came after Endeavors hired Biden transition team member Andrew Lorenzen-Strait as its senior director for migrant services and federal affairs.

As expected, ICE disagreed with major portions of the report, arguing it was justified in entering the no-bid contract due to the “unusual and compelling urgency” of the migrant border crisis.

“ICE is committed to ensuring that non-citizens in its custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments, and under appropriate conditions of confinement,” an ICE executive wrote in a March letter to DHS.

“The ICE Office of Acquisition Management utilized a valid exception to competition given the [self-induced] urgency of the migrant crisis on the SWB [Southwest border],” ICE Chief Financial Officer Stephen A. Roncone replied in a March letter to DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari.

“Based on market research, ICE determined that utilizing exception to [Federal Acquisition Regulation] 6.302-2 was appropriate to meet the urgent housing needs of the agency on the SWB for the migrant crisis in 2021.”

He further claimed that Endeavors was “the only known qualified source” which would be able to meet “the immediate need of the SWB crisis for bedding and other ancillary support for the migrant population.”

When Fox News Digital reached out to Endeavors, they claimed in a statement they “followed appropriate protocols and met the standard of care for migrant families in this contract.”

Transparency watchdog OpenTheBooks.com CEO and Founder Adam Andrzejewski wrote:

“Whether this was a result of nepotism or not, all federal agencies should use competitive bidding to be efficient, and not waste millions on exclusive contracts with unvetted contractors.”

Sources say the HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has also initiated an audit of the department’s sole source contract with Endeavors to provide services to unaccompanied minors.

"I'm being treated unfairly": Accused cop-killer complains that defense lawyers keep dropping his case

For more on the deep swamp that is Washington, DC, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

This article contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer.  

WASHINGTON, DC- Remember the swamp Donald Trump warned you about? In case you didn’t know, the swamp is alive and well and living in the campaign coffers of Joe Biden.

Western Journal reports that a major donor to the Biden campaign just scored a $500 million loan from the federal government.

On December 7, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a federal agency that is supposed to provide infrastructure financing to developing countries, donated the cash to Arizona-based First Solar to build a plant in India. Walmart heir Lukas Walton owns first Solar.

The agency issued a release in which they said they were “thrilled to be in a position to support First Solar’s new venture in India…vertically integrated photovoltaic solar modular manufacturing…”

The release conveniently forgot to mention however that they are a significant donor to Biden’s presidential campaign.

Aside from First Solar, it was also revealed that Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, donated over $300,000 to the Biden campaign and over $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Which is the party of big business and billionaires again?

All of this caught the attention of two Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, Reps. James Comer (KY) and Ralph Norman (S.C.), ranking member on the environmental subcommittee. Both lawmakers have asked to see DFC records on the First Solar loan.

“The loan, which is DFC’s ‘largest single debt financing transaction,’ raises questions about the involvement of political considerations in the analysis and decision-making processes at the DFC,” the two lawmakers said in a letter to the DFC.

Comer and Norman are asking for records of any communications between the DFC and the White House where First Solar was discussed. They are also seeking communications involving Walton or individuals representing him.

“Given Mr. Walton’s extensive history [of] fundraising for Democrats, this loan raises questions about what role his political contributions may have played in DFC’s decision to grant this loan,” the congressmen wrote.

The Free Beacon reached out to First Solar for comment, and were referred to the DFC, which declined to respond.

In addition to the campaign finance donations to Biden, the lawmakers are also interested in a class action lawsuit filed on Jan. 7 by First Solar shareholders where they allege company executives released misleading information and inflated the stock price.

The lawsuit, filed by the Pontiac, Michigan employees pension fund claims that a First Solar solar module was “grossly underperforming and was unable to hit its wattage targets.”

The claims issued by First Solar boosted 2019 stock prices, and eventually caused investors to lose money, the Free Beacon reported.

The company settled in 2020 with two U.K. pension fund stockholders, who filed a lawsuit in which they alleged First Solar’s misleading financial statements inflated stock prices between 2008 and 2012. The settlement netted the claimants $350 million.

Prior to 2019, the DFC was known as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation which had “a history of deals gone bad when mixing taxpayer dollars with politically connected entities like First Solar,” said Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center in a statement to the Free Beacon.

“This agency has a history of favoring entities backed by huge political contributors, like First Solar, by giving them less scrutiny while prioritizing politically connected projects above entities and individuals who are not politically active,” Anderson said.

However a spokesman for DCF, who asked not to be named, told the Free Beacon the deal had “absolutely nothing to do with politics.” Of course not.

First Solar was previously put under a microscope by House Republicans in 2012, with House Oversight Committee members at that time reviewing loans made by the Obama administration to solar companies, including the politically-connected Solyndra, which went bankrupt and defaulted on a $500 million federal loan.

All told, First Solar received some $3 billion in loan guarantees from the Obama administration despite the fact they were not qualified to receive them, Republicans alleged at the time.

In addition, in 2010, when it was known as OPIC, the agency facilitated a $10 million loan to a Hillary Clinton donor while she served as Secretary of State. However instead of using the money for a Haiti relief program, the donor kept it, leading to being sent to prison for fraud, the Free Beacon said.

But remember, this has “nothing to do with politics.”

The current loan was included under the so-called “Build Back Better World” program launched by the Biden administration.

But it has “nothing to do with politics.”

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For more on the swamp that is Washington, DC, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author.

WASHINGTON, DC- The swamp…defined by Merriam-Webster as a difficult or troublesome situation or subject. Donald Trump warned us about the swamp, and was on his way to making significant inroads on exposing and eliminating the swamp known as Washington, DC.

In yet another example of how deep the DC swamp is, Conservative Treehouse is reporting that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s legal counsel, Margaret Goodlander, is married to Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

That revelation in and of itself wouldn’t be a big deal under normal circumstances. However, we are hardly in normal circumstances.

Sullivan you may recall was one of the leading people behind the Russia collusion hoax, paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and which partially derailed the Trump administration for its first three years. During Clinton’s campaign, Sullivan served as her foreign policy advisor.

The revelation about Goodlander’s association with Garland’s office becomes extremely troubling (an understatement) since she is reported to be involved with overseeing special counsel John Durham’s probe into the Russia collusion “investigation.”

Part of that investigation involves Sullivan’s involvement in the collusion hoax and his likely false testimony to a Congressional subcommittee. The probe into Sullivan also involves use of the FBI as a political tool in the hoax.

The Washington Examiner reports that a number of people are calling for Goodlander to recuse herself from the Russia probe, which would seem to make sense given her husband’s involvement in the scam.

The Examiner tells us that Garland is charged with general oversight of the Durham probe in his role as attorney general. In that role, Garland’s office oversees Durham’s budget, the scope of the investigation and the release of Durham’s report.

The involvement of Goodlander raises serious questions as to how impartial Garland’s office will be in cooperating with the Durham investigation.

Sullivan’s name came up in Durham’s indictment of Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who worked for the Clinton campaign.

The indictment gave no indication that Durham was targeting Sullivan, however it is possible that Sullivan could serve as a witness in the probe in his role as Clinton’s foreign policy advisor.

Also, it is possible, according to the Free Beacon, that Durham’s investigation could expose details which might embarrass or otherwise implicate Sullivan in the scheme to undermine Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and later his administration.

According to a Justice Department spokesman, Goodlander “has no role in Mr. Durham’s investigation,” however it isn’t clear if she formally recused herself from the matter or “whether the Durham probe is outside her Justice Department portfolio,” the Free Beacon wrote.

Fox News reports Goodlander advises Garland on antitrust and international issues.

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as well as a government watchdog group, Empower Oversight say Goodlander must be formally recused from the Durham investigation in order to “maintain public trust” in the investigation.

“The Justice Department’s standing guidance calls for employees to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially when it comes to ongoing criminal investigations,” Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said.

“It is Garland’s best interest—and he’s obligated—to be transparent about whether his department is walling off officials who have a real or even perceived conflict, just as prior administrations have done,” Grassley told the Washington Free Beacon.

Empower Oversight founder and president Jason Foster said cratering public confidence in the Justice Department makes it “critical that decisions about Special Counsel Durham’s investigation are insulated from the political biases and personal interests of senior DOJ officials.”

Continuing, he said, “It would be no imposition on [Goodlander] or AG Garland to simply recuse herself from providing any advice to him in relation to that investigation—and thus reassure the public that she will continue to have no role in the future,” Foster told the Free Beacon.

The Free Beacon said they reached out to the Justice Department to see if Goodlander had officially recused herself from the Durham probe, to which they received no response. Likewise, the White House did not respond to questions about whether Sullivan had been contacted by Durham’s investigators.

The Free Beacon reported:

As a Clinton adviser, Sullivan had contact with the campaign lawyers who commissioned the Steele dossier, the infamous British spy report that made false allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sullivan is the Clinton adviser referenced in Durham’s indictment of cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann.

Sussmann, a former partner at the firm Perkins Coie, is accused of lying to an FBI lawyer about his reasons for investigating suspicious computer traffic between Trump’s real estate company and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank.

Durham alleges that Sussmann said he did not have a client with interest in the information when he was in fact working for the Clinton campaign.

Sussmann’s indictment revealed that Sussmann’s former partner at Perkins Coie—Mark Elias—in September 2016 briefed Sullivan and other members of Clinton’s campaign about efforts of Perkins Coie to investigate the Alfa Bank data.

Only days before the election, Sullivan issued a statement in which he used the Alfa-Trump allegations as evidence of collusion. The FBI later debunked the allegations of links between Trump and the Russian bank.

Elias, who was knee deep in a number of lawsuits last year in the lead up to the November presidential election, was responsible for hiring Fusion GPS, the firm which commissioned the bogus Steele dossier which was credited with initiating the Russia probe.

As part of his investigation, Durham indicted Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the dossier, on charges that he had lied to the FBI about the identity of his sources, including lying about a longtime Democratic operative, Charles Dolan not being one of his sources.

Grassley and Empower Oversight have also been pressuring the Justice Department to force another DOJ official, Susan Hennessy to recuse herself. She also pushed the false claim that Trump had colluded with Russia, and has criticized Durham’s investigation as “partisan silliness.” She serves in the national security division.

Grassley has complained that Garland, apparently focused on harassing and targeting school parents about school board meetings, has not cooperated in releasing information about his requests for information about Hennessy and other DOJ officials’ conflicts of interest.

“I’ve raised concerns about potential conflicts of several Biden Justice Department officials and can’t get a straight answer from the attorney general,” he told the Free Beacon.

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For more on Sullivan’s potential perjury before Congress, we invite you to read our prior report:

DIG DEEPER

WASHINGTON, DC- This past week, there was finally an indictment in the Russia collusion case.

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, it was Michael A. Sussmann, until recently a partner at Perkins Coie, a law firm which represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

One factor that was overlooked is that the indictment implicates a current member of the Biden administration as having lied under oath.

According to the Daily Mail, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan appears to have lied under oath to investigators looking into the bogus Russia collusion case involving the 2016 presidential campaign of former President Donald Trump.

The tie to Sullivan was found inside the grand jury indictment of Sussmann where he was identified by his campaign position, the Mail said.

According to the criminal complaint, Sullivan was briefed about alleged ties between Trump and a Russian bank, Alfa Bank ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

If that indictment is accurate, and there’s no reason to believe it is not, it appears to contradict testimony made by Sullivan during testimony before Congress in 2017, in which he told lawmakers he had no knowledge of the company which led the “research” mission into the since-debunked collusion case.

The indictment of Sussmann stems from him telling FBI investigators in a September 2016 meeting that he was not acting on behalf of “any client” when he asked for a meeting with the FBI’s general counsel, wherein he warned them of “concerns” from cybersecurity researchers of possible suspicious contact between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In their indictment, the grand jury said that Sussmann isn’t the only one to blame for the scam and in the 27-page indictment referenced Sullivan’s involvement in attempting to trick the FBI into investigating Trump for Russian collusion.

While Sullivan isn’t referenced specifically by name, the indictment refers to Clinton’s “foreign policy advisor” (Sullivan) who communicated with Sussmann’s law partner, the slimy Marc Elias in reference to the Alfa bank allegations.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

According to RealClearInvestigations (RCI), the “foreign policy advisor” “exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations,” as well as other top campaign officials, according to the indictment.

The outlet said sources close to the case have confirmed that adviser was indeed Sullivan. They say he (Sullivan) was briefed on the progress of developing opposition research materials which tied former President Trump to Alfa Bank, as well as being aware of the participants in the project.

Among those participants were Fusion GPS, an opposition research group that worked with the Clinton campaign to gather dirt on the Russian bank and compose the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan.

Those materials were then submitted by Sussmann to the FBI. Sources also say that Fusion GPS researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016.

Sullivan and Elias also directly met, where Elias briefed him on Fusion GPS’s opposition research, the sources revealed.

In his 2017 testimony Sullivan denied knowing of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research.

During the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Sullivan also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research. The Sussmann indictment appears to show that Sullivan lied during that testimony.

“Marc [Elias]…would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn’t know what the nature of that effort was—inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that,” Sullivan testified.

This was in response to a question about whether or not Sullivan had seen the [Steele] Dossier, which served as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into so-called Russia collusion.

Sullivan also denied knowing that Perkins Coie was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media. Sullivan even tried to claim that he didn’t know that Elias was working for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democrat-connected law firm.

That was despite the fact that major media outlets routinely referred to Elias as  “general counsel for the Clinton campaign” and “a partner at Perkins Coie” throughout 2016.

“To be honest with you, Marc [Elias] wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing,” Sullivan testified under oath. “I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler—in this campaign effort.”

In speaking to the opposition research, Sullivan claimed “They didn’t do something with it,” when in truth they used the research to launch the collusion investigation at the FBI, while also dropping a number of stories to the Washington media, which Elias mentioned in emails.

Lying to Congress is a felony, however as we routinely see, it is rarely prosecuted, although former Special Counsel Robert Mueller achieved convictions of two Trump associates on that very charge.

RCI said they reached out to Sullivan’s attorney, who did not respond to questions, and said a spokesperson for the National Security Council declined comment.

They noted that even after the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to work in an effort to undermine Trump, with no fewer than three internet companies and two university computer researchers who used nonpublic internet data in an effort to derive “derogatory information on Trump,” Sussmann’s indictment read.

Prosecutors said that operation continued until at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with someone else who was central in the attempt to smear Trump, this time at the FBI.

This was done in an attempt to compel FBI agents to continue the investigation into the dossier in order to keep the Trump presidency “under an ethical cloud,’ RCI said.

On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan met with two Fusion GPS operatives, along with their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer in order to continue the narrative that Trump was basically an agent of Putin.

RCI initially reported the meeting, which lasted around an hour and took place in a Washington, DC office building, which also included former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

That meeting involved a plan to raise money for the purposes of financing a multimillion-dollar opposition research project spearheaded by Jones to attack Trump. Basically, the new operation run by Jones would take the place of the Clinton campaign’s smear campaign.

While it wasn’t clear if Sussmann attended the Feb 10 meeting, he was still apparently involved with the operation, along with a crew of data miners.

Just one day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann traveled to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia to tell the false tale of a secret server, meeting with top CIA officials, according to sources familiar with Durham’s probe.

That meeting, which lasted around 90 minutes saw Sussmann provide officials “updated” documents and data he has provided to the FBI prior to the election.

On March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI in order to pass “fresh” leads he and a team of cyber researchers had discovered about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, with the FBI investigating the new leads after having closed their investigation a month earlier.

That very month, then FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau was now investigating possible “coordination” between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Despite all of those efforts, the FBI debunked the allegations involving Alfa Bank, with agents finding the email server in question wasn’t controlled by the Trump organization, a point confirmed by Mueller in 2019 testimony. “It wasn’t true,” he said.

In fact the so-called “secret server” was in fact housed in a small Pennsylvania town, not in Trump Tower in New York, and was operated by a Florida marketing firm called Cendyn, which spams emails promoting numerous hotel chains; in other words that third-party server spammed Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels.

“The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump organization, but rather had been administered by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment.

That mattered little, as both Jones and Sullivan continued promoting the hoax as truth. In 2017, assisted by Sullivan and Podesta, Jones launched a nonprofit called The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), and raised some $7 million primarily seeded by Silicon Valley tech executives.

That organization hired computer researchers, including Fusion GPS opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, he of the debunked “Steele dossier” in order to “prove” the rumors contained in the bogus dossier.

TDIP fed information to friendly media outlets, as well as leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which had initiated an investigation into Trump and Russia.

Rewinding back to 2016 during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA intercepted Russian chatter about a “Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to ‘vilify’ Trump,” with the intercepts noting that Hillary Clinton approved a scheme to “stir up a scandal” against Donald Trump by tying him to Putin.

In fact, according to handwritten notes, then CIA director John Brennan warned President Obama that Russia had intercepted intel about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.”

During that summer, Brennan briefed Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, congressional reports read. That led Reid to write come demanding the FBI step up its investigation of Trump’s ties to Moscow.

During the DNC, Sullivan was a very busy boy, utilizing a golf cart to drive from network tent to network tent, convincing producers and anchors to investigate the story that Trump was conspiring with Russia to steal the 2016 election; all the major networks—CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Chris Wallace of Fox News all gave Sullivan airtime to spin the bogus Russia collusion stories.

On the eve of the 2016 election, Sullivan produced a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank,” and suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.”

He attempted to show the discovery was the result of work by “independent experts—‘computer scientists’—without disclosing their attachment to the campaign,” RCI said.

Sullivan was up to his eyeballs in the Russia collusion hoax. He clearly lied in his congressional testimony in 2017. The penalty for lying to Congress is up to five years in prison. Let’s wait and see if he’s held to account.

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
Facebook Follow First
Share:
Submit a Correction
Related Posts