As I've reported before, the DOT's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, adopted by states and cities across the country, is one of the most atrociously corrupt government endeavors in existence. Scam artists of all colors have used the federal racial set-aside program to win billions of dollars' worth of federal contracts for themselves and their friends under the blanket presumption that racial/ethnic minority equals aggrieved victim equals government entitlement.
The Bush administration defended this discriminatory scheme before the Supreme Court, which gives firms owned by certified minorities and women automatic special preferences for being "disadvantaged" -- even if they have never suffered discrimination in the conduct of transportation-related business. The result is a taxpayer-funded racial spoils system that enshrines different rules for different races -- strict, race-based preferences for higher-bidding minorities over lower-bidding, white-owned firms.
Abuse by white- and minority-owned firms colluding to rip off taxpayers is routine:
In May, two Denver construction firms were nabbed in a scheme to set up a Latino-owned "pass-through" firm to satisfy federal DBE minority hiring requirements.
In June, Shamsud-din Ali was convicted in Philadelphia of racketeering and fraud related to an airport concession minority-owned subcontracting business set up as a front.
In July, former Miami City Commissioner Art Teele and an electrical contractor were indicted on charges of conspiring to defraud Miami-Dade County of millions of dollars in minority contracts at Miami International Airport under the federal DBE program. (Teele committed suicide last month in the lobby of the Miami Herald newspaper offices.) Businesses and politicians in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans and Massachusetts have been implicated in similar schemes. Industry observers tell me such fraud is the rule, not the exception.
September 11 was supposed to have "changed everything." But for Bush and his Clinton holdover, Norm Mineta, it's business as usual at the Transportation Department. You can profile for profit, but not for public safety.
Homeland security? What homeland security?
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