What Nancy Pelosi and company will not mention, though, is that the Shaw Group was founded by major Louisiana Democrat player Jim Bernhard -- a former chairman of the Louisiana Democrat Party who worked tirelessly for Democrat Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's runoff campaign and served as co-chair of her transition team. Bernhard was palsy-walsy with Blanco, whom he has lent/offered the Shaw Group's corporate jets to on numerous occasions. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager.
Democrats also plan to make hay of no-bid trailer contract awards that have benefited Republican-leaning businesses, including a joint venture involving Del-Jen Inc., a subsidiary of Fluor, which has reportedly donated more than $930,000 to mostly GOP candidates since 2000.
But what will the anti-cronyism Democrats say about Bourget's of the South -- which, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "has become the biggest Louisiana supplier of trailers to FEMA by far, collecting nearly $120 million from no-bid federal contracts?" The company had no license to sell trailers nor any experience in the industry when it secured a $6.4 million deal after Katrina hit.
It did, however, have connections. The men who own Bourget's -- brothers Glen and Gary Smith -- are sons of Henry Smith, the treasurer of the executive committee of the Louisiana Democratic Party. The Times-Picayune notes further: "Gary's son and Glen's nephew, Gary Smith Jr., is the Democratic state representative from Norco who sits on the House Special Committee on Disaster Planning, Crisis Management, Recovery and Long-Term Revitalization." Heckuva job, Smithies!
Katrina cronyism comes in equally vibrant shades of red and blue. Such are the rotten fruits of bipartisanship in Washington.
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