Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Urges Oversight Committee Leadership To Investigate Federal Contracts Preventing Government Review In Wake Of Whitefish Energy Scandal
SCHAUMBURG, IL – Today, in response to news that Whitefish Energy’s no-bid, $300 million contract to restore power to Puerto Rico included a provision specifically preventing the government from reviewing or auditing the reported costs of the company’s services, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi asked the leadership of the Oversight Committee to investigate the full scope of anti-auditing language in government contracts. Krishnamoorthi, a former Special Assistant Attorney General in Illinois’s anti-corruption unit, emphasized the dangers posed by such contracts – whether due to incompetence or nefarious intent - and the potential damage to not only the public coffers, but also the public trust.
Dear Chairman Gowdy and Ranking Member Cummings:
In light of the revelation that Whitefish Energy’s $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid contains an anti-auditing clause, I am respectfully requesting that you convene hearings to investigate both the Whitefish deal and the full scope of any anti-auditing language in government contracts.
Whitefish Energy’s contract states the following:
In no event that PREPA, the Government of Puerto Rico, the FEMA Administrator, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their authorized representatives have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements of the labor rates specified herein.
As a former Special Assistant Attorney General in Illinois’s anti-corruption unit, I have seen firsthand the effect that sweetheart contracts and backroom deals have on both state budgets and people's trust in government. And as a former small businessman, I'm appalled that anyone would allow this clause in a financial contract. We have an obligation to get to the bottom of why this clause was inserted into a contract to help Puerto Rico recover from two devastating hurricanes.
The most alarming part of this contract is that it prohibits the government from reviewing the costs Whitefish charges for services. The federal government has sacred promise to the American taxpayers to not misuse or waste federal funds. This contract breaks that promise, and Congress needs to investigate both the deal with Whitefish and the full use of any anti-auditing clauses in the federal contracting process.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Member of Congress