Obama administration gifts Dem donor & lobbyist with $150M no-bid contract

posted at 12:55 pm on February 25, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Barack Obama ran for President, he argued that his lack of experience put him in position to change the way Washington works.  Obama explicitly referred to the cozy relationships between donors and contracting, especially when it comes to lobbyists.  So how is that hope and change working out for us?  It’s working out pretty well for lobbyist, Democratic donor, and government contractor Joel W. McCleary at PharmAthene:

The Obama administration has steered up to $150 million in federal funding for the development and production of an anthrax vaccine to a bio-defense firm with strong Democratic Party ties, Fox News has learned.

The move comes in spite of President Obama’s long history of pledges to crack down on the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding, and just as a federal commission led by two former U.S. senators has given the Obama administration a failing grade on shoring up the nation’s bio-defenses.

Federal records show that executives of the company awarded the contract, as well as its investors and related lobbyists, have long been active contributors to Democratic Party causes and campaigns, including the 2008 presidential campaign of President Obama.

The deal was announced at a time when few Americans were likely to be paying attention: on the evening of Dec. 29, midway between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

PharmAthene bought a company in 2008 that had a federal contract, awarded in a competitive bidding contract, to produce a vaccine.  The HHS Department says that this is nothing more than a follow-on.  However, Fox News reports that HHS also “abruptly” a bid process to award this so-called “modification” that pitted PharmAthene against Emergent Biosystems.

Cui bono?  Let’s take a look at the players — and follow the money:

PharmAthene’s founder, Joel W. McCleary, who describes himself as “one of the foremost political strategists in the world,” has served as an aide in the Carter White House and as treasurer of the Democratic Party. He is now a registered lobbyist and remains on PharmAthene’s board of directors.

McCleary and executives at Four Seasons Ventures, LLC, the Georgetown-based private equity and lobbying firm he founded — also one of PharmAthene’s top investors — have collectively given at least $110,000 to various Democratic Party arms and candidates over the last six years. McCleary personally gave $2,300 to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in November 2007.

Federal records maintained online by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) also show PharmAthene executives contributed nearly $10,000 to Democratic organizations and candidates over the same time period, including $1,200 to the Obama presidential campaign.

Close scrutiny of CRP’s online records reveals that on the same day — Nov. 6, 2009 — McCleary contributed $4,800 and two PharmAthene executives gave a combined $1,500 to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Harkin is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the panel that oversees HHS and its operations

PharmAthene’s registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C. is Jim Ervin, founder of Ervin Technical Associates (ETA) and also a general partner at Four Seasons Ventures. ETA’s lobbying clients include other major government contractors, including General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Raytheon.

When we heard “hope and change,” we didn’t realize that it meant that Democrats hope to change the recipients of federal favors to their own donors.

Update: John Ziegler points out a statement from more than two years ago from Obama that John featured in his film How Obama Got Elected:

On Nov. 11, Obama delivered a rousing address at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Speech in Des Moines, Iowa, a stem winder that seemed to revitalize what had seemed to some political observers to have become a campaign in need of a jolt.

“I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over,” Obama said, bringing the crowd to its feet.

“I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and I have won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”

I’m looking for the video — but of course, you could also just buy John’s excellent documentary.


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Syndicalism

daesleeper on February 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

However, Fox News reports that HHS also “abruptly” a bid process…

Missing word?

KS Rex on February 25, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Just goes to show, you can count on one hand the “promises” Obama has actually kept. God, he sucks.

search4truth on February 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Waiting for Lib outrage. *wind whistling through the trees*

davidk on February 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Healing we will feel…….all hail The Messiah!

dmann on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Dope and Strange!

rightside on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Halliburton.

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

(Just filling in until Grow Fins gets here.)

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

(Just filling in until Grow Fins gets here.)

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

I predict this will be another lefty troll free thread.

rbj on February 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Yes, let’s save him the time.

Obama explicitly promised to end this sort of thing in Washington. The crime isn’t that he awarded no-bid contracts, it’s that he awarded no-bid contracts in violation of his campaign promises.

amerpundit on February 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

When Barack Obama ran for President, he argued that his lack of experience outside of Chicago, put him in position to change the way Washington works, into more of a Chicago way.

Promises made, promises kept, towards those who need corrupt Chicago machine garbage, to properly represent themselves.

MNHawk on February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Any Obama voter that is surprised by this is hereby awarded a Captain Louis Renault Award.

WashJeff on February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I hear the active ingredient in the Obama Anthrax vaccine is a new development called “placebo”.

I eagerly await my injection.

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I thought Democrats HATED Halliburton and Schlumberger and anything that doesn’t HAVE a contract.

Hmmmmm, hypocrits of the world….

upinak on February 25, 2010 at 1:19 PM

My shock and surprise meter is tapped out. How does one resupply that?

There should be a 95% fine on all assets and jail time for this stuff- for the donor, the company and the public officials who approved the paperwork.

journeyintothewhirlwind on February 25, 2010 at 1:20 PM

This is indeed disturbing, I’m on the verge of not believing the Hope and Change thingie any longer.

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 1:21 PM

I find it funny that the left is having a fit over the Supreme Court ruling overturning the ban on corporate donations in an election, but seem to have no qualms about this kind of thing, buying government business.

DougV on February 25, 2010 at 1:22 PM

“It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Barack “George Castanza” Obama.

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:22 PM

That’s unexpected.

King of the Britons on February 25, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I find it funny that the left is having a fit over the Supreme Court ruling overturning the ban on corporate donations in an election, but seem to have no qualms about this kind of thing, buying government business.

DougV on February 25, 2010 at 1:22 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I question everything these crooks do. Fox & Friends had a story this morning about Census message inside fortune cookies. I would bet some donor/crony owns a fortune cookie company and we’re probably paying 3X the going rate.

PatMac on February 25, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 1:21 PM

LOL!!!! Be strong!! Hopenchange will endure! Just ask Carter with his malaise!

search4truth on February 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

PharmAthene’s founder, , who describes himself as “one of the foremost political strategists in the world,” has served as an aide in the Carter White House and as treasurer of the Democratic Party.

Hmm. A drug company founded, not by one of the smartest people on a college campus, the bio-chemist major, but instead, some of the dumbest (plenty of competition with poly-sci, journalists, communications…) a Moron-Studies major.

What could go wrong, as success is assured!

MNHawk on February 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

see:

amerpundit on February 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:26 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

But the GOP isn’t upset over the S.Ct. ruling.

rbj on February 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Just got another $78M this week.

Akzed on February 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing? Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Which must be why you supplied no examples.

Akzed on February 25, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Since the moonbat left won’t get upset about a no bid Dem contract, here are some things about it they can oppose:

It is for an evil pharmaceutical company.
Anthrax would become an endangered species as a result of this contract.
Vaccines cause autism.
Buuuuush.
The vaccine will be used by the evil military-industrial complex.
Cheneeeeeeey.
Anthrax spores need love too.
Why are you picking on Anthrax, they are a very good band.

GnuBreed on February 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Did I miss something and Barack Obama ran on being “no worse than George Bush”?

Because I thought that we were supposed to take Obama’s utter lack of qualifications and experience, because of his outstanding morals and integrity.

And his non-partisanship.

Ha!

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?
Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Do you remember the liberals and demorats excoriating the Bush administration for doing this? I do.

Bishop on February 25, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Why are you picking on Anthrax, they are a very good band.

GnuBreed on February 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Made me lol.

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 25, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Did I miss something and Barack Obama ran on being “no worse than George Bush”?

Because I thought that we were supposed to take Obama’s utter lack of qualifications and experience, because of his outstanding morals and integrity.

And his non-partisanship.

Ha!

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Well said.

We’ve heard for the last decade about how evil Republicans are and now the fall back position for liberals is “But Republicans do it to! So it’s ok I lied through my teeth that I was any different and vilified my opponents with the things I’m doing now.”

gwelf on February 25, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Our country has become hopelessly corrupt

TheBigOldDog on February 25, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I predict this will be another lefty troll free thread.

rbj on February 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Del Dolemonte on February 25, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Why are we hearing about this 2 months later? I guess the legs are still tingling in the media.

tommer74 on February 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I don’t recall the Rethuglicans explicitly promising not to do this, unlike your Dear Leader. Please try again.

BTW, kid, you need to do some research on Democrat Lyndon Johnson and his long incestuous relationship with KBR and Halliburton. His dealings with the firm make Darth Cheney look like a novice.

Del Dolemonte on February 25, 2010 at 1:40 PM

I thought they stopped this after an uproar? Maybe that was another one. My head is spinning from the rapid-fire from the Obamunists.

NTWR on February 25, 2010 at 1:41 PM

When we heard “hope and change,” we didn’t realize that it meant that Democrats hope to change the recipients of federal favors to their own donors.

I think we did. We knew that they were from Chicago. The people who voted for Obama maybe didn’t know. But we did.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 1:43 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

That is the point of “change” remember… campaign slogan to change the way things were done.

You should stop trying cause you just condemned Obama and I don’t think that was your intention.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Crony Capitalism.

Jvette on February 25, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM
That is the point of “change” remember… campaign slogan to change the way things were done.

You should stop trying cause you just condemned Obama and I don’t think that was your intention.

petunia on February 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM

–I’m not sure why this company got the contract and I’m not sure whether the process was improper or not. My point was simply that the GOP seemed to do a whole bunch with no bid contracts to GOP-connected organizations in connection with Iraq, like Blackwater and Halliburton (maybe misspelled). Frankly, if there’s only one of these in about 14 months, that’s probably an improvement.

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

no bid contracts to GOP-connected organizations in connection with Iraq, like Blackwater and Halliburton

None of which ran afoul of GAO investigators.

And many of the services were no-bid, because (as in the case of the oil fires), Halliburton was the only company in a position to provide the service being requested.

Dozens of companies can make Anthrax vaccine, Barack Obama is inexperienced and corrupt.

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Do you realize that our country has been taken over by a GANG?

nazo311 on February 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM

connected organizations in connection with Iraq, like Blackwater and Halliburton (maybe misspelled). Frankly, if there’s only one of these in about 14 months, that’s probably an improvement.

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Simple. Who lost out? Who else offers what Halliburton and Blackwater offer?

Do you think there might other bio-tech companies who are in business to develop drugs? Maybe even one or two, not run by government hacks, with no experience, nor training in little things like, oh, perhapes, bio-tech?

MNHawk on February 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Frankly, if there’s only one of these in about 14 months, that’s probably an improvement.

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Most of what were called “no-bid contracts” by the media were actually bid on. Since KBR/Halliburton have the most experience with the types of contracts awarded, it makes sense that they would be least expensive and have the best lead time. That’s why they always won. BTW KBR was partially owned in a roundabout way by Ladybird Johnson.

NTWR on February 25, 2010 at 2:00 PM

typical commie, they are all about cronies and pay back

immigrantchick on February 25, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Does that make it right? Especially after Obama campaigned on putting a stop to it? I don’t like either side doing it, but Obama specifically made a point that he’d put an end to it, and is now doing it. That makes him a hypocrite.

I have to ask you a question. I realize you’re a liberal. Ok. But is there anything the Democrats do that upsets you, or anything they do, that you won’t defend? It just doesn’t seem to matter that it might be wrong, as long as a Democrat does it, makes it right. In your eyes.

capejasmine on February 25, 2010 at 2:08 PM

When we heard “hope and change,” we didn’t realize that it meant that Democrats hope to change the recipients of federal favors to their own donors.

Speak for yourself…

Blacklake on February 25, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Just goes to show, you can count on one hand the “promises” Obama has actually kept. God, he sucks.

search4truth on February 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

You don’t even need to use a hand with any fingers.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Halliburton.

notropis on February 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Not even close.
The Armed Service decided that in certain emergency situations, they wouldn’t have enough time to go through a full bid process for certain high priority items.

So they set up a system under which companies would bid for the priviledge of being the goto company during these emergencies. Each bidding process lasted 5 years.

Halliburton actually won the right to be the no-bid supplier while Clinton was still in office.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

–Gee, don’t I remember the Republicans doing the same thing?

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Your memory is as flawed as usual.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Halliburton actually won the right to be the no-bid supplier while Clinton was still in office.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 2:42 PM

*slap slap* Don’t you understand? That’s ok, because Clinton’s a liberal. It is NOT ok for Bush, because eeeeeeeewwwww he’s a Republican! That’s the difference. At least that’s the argument I see coming from certain people.

Liberals do no wrong. Republicans are a blight on the planet. *sigh*

capejasmine on February 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

And many of the services were no-bid, because (as in the case of the oil fires), Halliburton was the only company in a position to provide the service being requested.

Dozens of companies can make Anthrax vaccine, Barack Obama is inexperienced and corrupt.

NoDonkey on February 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM

The oil fires were an emergency. Making anthrax vaccine isn’t.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

But Ed, you said a a month or so back that the 1st Amendment gave these “people” the right to seek redress from the government. Evidently these “people” weren’t getting their monies(donations) worth and are just seeking redress.

Tom

marinetbryant on February 25, 2010 at 3:21 PM

WashJeff on February 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM

But, Obama’s “only a poor corrupt official”.

All Obama has to do is go out and say, “Let me be clear. As I have said before, I do not support no-bid contracts.” and this will not have happened. Just like he believes strongly in the free market, after having taken over GM and Chrysler. Just like he’s hardly ever had any contact with ACORN after pledging assistance to them once elected President.

Obama could call a press conference, stand at a podium and say, “I am not here right now.” and all the Obamanuts would look around and exclaim, “Holy crap, he just disappeared! Where the hell did he go?!”.

Left Coast Right Mind on February 25, 2010 at 3:49 PM

The oil fires were an emergency. Making anthrax vaccine isn’t.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

–We hope.

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

<blockquoteThe oil fires were an emergency. Making anthrax vaccine isn’t.

MarkTheGreat on February 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM

–We hope.

Jimbo3 on February 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Wow, the FUD card on National Security. What’s next, invoking 9/11?

Kai on February 25, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Before the election-
Dear Leader: Everything Bush does is wrong. Vote for me because I won’t do anything the way Bush does it.

The MSM: Vote for Dear Leader, Maria von Trapp should be so pure and holy. Bush has horns and a tail but he uses a Jedi mind trick to keep you from seeing them.

Academe: Ba-a-a, ba-a-a, ba-a-a

Hollywood: Dude, Bush? Dude?

Ratfink Republican: Bush wasn’t conservative enough, McCain’s going to lose – I have to consider my social calendar and vote for Dear Leader.

Honest Abe: Well, all these folks can’t be wrong, can they?

After the election:
Honest Abe: Hey, I voted for Dear Leader and now he’s doing everything he said he wouldn’t do!

The MSM: …krreek….krreeeek….kreeek…

Academe: No, see, you’re just filled with rage is all.

Hollywood: Dude, Bush? Dude?

Ratfink Republican: I was against Dear Leader before I was for him.

Dear Leader: Let’s have a beer, Abe…

Knott Buyinit on February 25, 2010 at 5:57 PM

BTW, kid, you need to do some research on Democrat Lyndon Johnson and his long incestuous relationship with KBR and Halliburton. His dealings with the firm make Darth Cheney look like a novice.

Del Dolemonte on February 25, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Del,
Have you ever wondered why the US Army HAD to buy Bell helicopters when there were six other airframes available that would be cheaper and performed better? (hint: ask Lady Bird)

Blacksmith8 on February 26, 2010 at 9:12 AM

One of the few cases where there really isn’t much of a difference between the two parties. About the only Republican I’m aware of that took this kind of thing seriously is Sarah Palin. Which might explain an awful lot of the opposition to her from the Old Guard Republicans.

tom on February 26, 2010 at 3:22 PM