Congress created “Alaska Native Corporations” in the 80’s to help Alaskan American Indians, giving them privileges like “no-bid” government contracts. That means they can charge more and do less. Taxpayers pick up the tab.
A story this week in the Washington Post shows who really benefits from laws like those: Washington insiders.
For years as a lawyer in Washington, Paralee White had helped small and disadvantaged firms break into the federal contracting market.
Then she decided to help herself.
She started a business and was soon making more than $500,000 a year through a contracting program intended to help poor Alaska natives,
She did that by “partnering” with an actual Native Alaskan corporation named MTNT. But her company took nearly all of the profit.
…Over several years, White and her associates landed more than $500 million in construction contracts for the Navy and other Pentagon departments… But less than 1 percent of that money made it back to the native-owned corporations.
Get that? Less than 1 percent of your money. Now the corporation is calling her out.
“We were taken advantage of,” MTNT chief executive Vicki Otte said.
What’s the government’s response to being caught letting millions of taxpayer dollars go to waste?
In statements, Navy and Air Force officials said that responsibility fell to the SBA. But SBA spokeswoman Hayley Meadvin said her agency long ago transferred [monitoring] authority to the Pentagon and other agencies.
The Government Accountability Office called the program an “open checkbook.”
I’ll cover GAO criticisms of other parts of government on my FBN show Thursday.