We recently learned of the end of a long, drawn-out investigation into yet another phony “scandal” dreamed up by the Democrats back in 2019 in their endless efforts to find some sort of wrongdoing on the part of the Trump administration regarding his work to construct the wall on the Mexican border. Using the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office, an investigation was launched into one of the contracts awarded to a company named Fisher Sand and Gravel who was chosen to supply construction materials and services for parts of the project. The allegations being raised dragged Senator Kevin Cramer (R – North Dakota) into the food fight, claiming that he had somehow improperly lobbied for the company, headquartered in his home state, to receive the contract.
The media quickly jumped on the bandwagon, publishing all manner of allegations along those lines. The Washington Post suggested that Cramer had unfairly influenced the process as some sort of shady deal benefitting a campaign contributor. MSNBC attempted to make hay out of the fact that the company’s CEO had been a guest of Cramer’s at the State of the Union address. CBS News ran an interview with Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson (one of the lead drivers of the witch hunt) all but accusing Cramer of violating procurement regulations.
Well, the Inspector General’s office finally finished its work this month and released a report of their findings. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that they found the process of awarding the contract to be completely appropriate and fully in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
USACE contracting officials properly awarded contract W912PL-20-C-0004 (Yuma 3 Project) to Fisher Sand and Gravel. Specifically, USACE contracting officials solicited and awarded the Yuma 3 Project contract to design and build border infrastructure in accordance with Federal procurement laws and regulations. We reviewed Fisher Sand and Gravel’s proposal, compared it to the solicitation, and agreed with USACE’s assessment that it was the LPTA and was properly awarded the contract.
Additionally, USACE officials testified that there was no undue influence, and none of the information and documents reviewed by the DoD OIG provided evidence that there was undue influence from the White House or Members of Congress that affected the award of the Yuma 3 Project contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel.
Imagine our surprise. (/sarc) So the Department of Defense solicited multiple bids for a government contract and awarded it to the company that turned in the most attractive bid while being fully qualified to perform the requested services. That sounds like little more than another day at the office for the Pentagon’s bean counters.
In response, Cramer released a statement in support of the IG’s findings.
“I have always been guided by the principle of following the rule of law. This situation is no different as proven and dismissed by the Inspector General numerous times throughout the report. This complete and total exoneration is a long time coming from this worthless, partisan fishing expedition. House Democrats wasted taxpayer time and money while the Biden Administration is actively ignoring a crisis of their own doing at the Southern border.”
The real issue with the entire process was actually caused by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because they were responsible for overseeing the awarding of the contract. Cramer’s own investigation revealed that the USACE failed to foster a competitive bidding environment by sticking with companies that have long ties to the federal procurement system, effectively shutting out new competitors who might deliver savings and innovative technologies.
Those pointing out the fact that Fisher Sand and Gravel is based out of North Dakota are simply beating a dead horse. Obviously, any elected representative would like to see a company that’s creating jobs in their home state have a fair shot at picking up some work from the government. But in the end, a fair shot was all that the company received. And as the IG made clear, the process was handled appropriately and the taxpayers received a fair deal as a result. This partisan fishing expedition has been an embarrassment from the beginning and it’s good to see it finally come to an end.