Speaking of Senator Corruption (R- AZ, running for president, maybe you’ve heard mention of him), a top McCain fundraiser has been gouging tax-payers, and screwing the Pentagon. In some circles, that is considered war profiteering, and is a hanging offense.
The Democratic chairman of a House investigative committee presented documents to the Pentagon on Thursday charging that a top Republican fund-raiser, Harry Sargeant III, made tens of millions of dollars in profits over the last four years because his contracting company vastly overcharged for deliveries of fuel to American air bases in Iraq.
In a written statement on Thursday, a lawyer for Mr. Sargeant, who is the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a major fund-raiser for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, called the allegations “deeply disappointing” and asserted that they were not supported by the facts.
The contracting company, called the International Oil Trading Company, or I.O.T.C., was briefly in the news over the summer when a former partner filed a lawsuit against Mr. Sargeant in a Florida circuit court.
The former partner, a Jordanian named Mohammad al-Saleh, is a brother-in-law of King Abdullah II of Jordan. The court papers laid out his assertion that he obtained special governmental authorizations for the company to transport the fuel through Jordan and was then unlawfully forced out by Mr. Sargeant, who strongly disputed those allegations.
But the latest claims of impropriety by the company, presented by Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, go much further. Mr. Waxman uses e-mail messages, company documents, Pentagon reports and other information to make the case that Mr. Sargeant repeatedly received contracts to deliver the fuel even though his company was not the lowest bidder.
In one case, the letter from Mr. Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asserts that Mr. Sargeant’s company submitted the highest of six bids, but received the contract anyway. In fact, Pentagon contracting officers complained that the company’s prices were unreasonably high and initially said they could not justify giving the work to Mr. Sargeant.
But for reasons the company was never able to explain, Mr. Waxman’s letter indicates, no other American company was given an authorization to transport the fuel through Jordan. And when the United States Central Command declared that the need for the fuel was urgent, the Pentagon was forced to award the contract to Mr. Sargeant’s company.
Mr. Sargeant is one of several dozen people who are listed on Senator McCain’s Web site as having raised $500,000 or more for him. He was the host of a fund-raiser for Mr. McCain at his mansion in Delray Beach, Fla., this year.
I hope President Obama gives Henry Waxman free reign to continue his investigations into Bush-crony corruption, including John McCain’s friends like Sargeant, and corporations like Verizon.
And remember this story?
Mr. Sargeant came under scrutiny in August when media reports highlighted a cluster of more than $50,000 in unusual campaign contributions bundled together by Mr. Sargeant from a single extended family in California and a few of their friends. The donations set off questions of whether they might have been made by donors in name only who were reimbursed by someone trying to skirt contribution limits.
It turned out that the donations were not actually solicited by Mr. Sargeant but by another Jordanian business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba’a. The McCain campaign later said it would return all contributions solicited by Mr. Abu Naba’a and review all donations collected by Mr. Sargeant.