WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today raised concerns with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) over contracting decisions for hurricane recovery efforts after reports that FEMA awarded more than $30 million in contracts to Bronze Star, LLC, then cancelled the contracts after the company completely failed to deliver the required products. The company was created only two months before the contracts were awarded, and had never done work on a similar scale.
McCaskill also raised new concerns today, calling for answers from FEMA about a $34 million contract to Global Computers and Networks, LLC—also for protective tarps in Puerto Rico—that, according to federal contract records, only has one employee and an annual revenue of $240,000. In addition, McCaskill detailed the significant backlog that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has for installing temporary roofing on tens of thousands of hurricane-damaged homes.
“It’s unacceptable that families devastated by recent hurricanes are facing such delays in getting the services they need,” McCaskill said. “FEMA needs to be vigilant in how it awards and oversees contracts so that disaster relief funds actually reach the survivors who need it and taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted.”
McCaskill is seeking details from FEMA about the Bronze Star contract and other hurricane relief contracts. “FEMA’s decision to award Bronze Star contracts to provide critical supplies raises further questions about FEMA’s contract award process,” McCaskill wrote to FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “In particular, I am concerned about how FEMA is ensuring that contractors with limited performance records have the sufficient capacity to meet a contract’s requirements…FEMA must take appropriate steps to manage and oversee hurricane relief contracts to ensure that the taxpayer dollars reach disaster survivors and are not wasted or mismanaged.”
McCaskill also raised concerns over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ significant backlog installing one type of protective roof covering—37,000 homes were waiting to receive temporary roofing as of November 13th. “These serious delays on the part of the Army Corps, coupled with Bronze Star’s failure to deliver under FEMA contracts, are prohibiting survivors of Hurricane Maria from accessing urgently needed supplies,” McCaskill wrote.
McCaskill’s letter follows up on questions she posed to FEMA earlier this week over its overall post-hurricane contracting process in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is responsible for oversight of disaster relief efforts. McCaskill has repeatedly called for answers over the Whitefish contract in Puerto Rico, including most recently when she wrote to FEMA asking for additional information on the agency’s role in the contract. Earlier this year, McCaskill joined Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to call for an investigation from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General into the Whitefish contract. She also wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month about nearly $1 billion it is awarding to contractors for repairing the electrical grid in Puerto Rico.
Read McCaskill’s letter to FEMA HERE.