After pouring some $60 million of workers' dues into Democratic coffers, Stern was rewarded by Obama with a cozy spot on the White House deficit panel and dozens of visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- including at least seven with the president, one with Vice President Joe Biden, and meetings with Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain, OMB Director Peter Orszag, health czar aide Jennifer Cannistra and Valerie Jarrett's former high-powered aide and Chicago fundraiser Tina Tchen.
In a classic access-buying maneuver, Siga placed Stern on its board of directors in June 2010. Four months later, Siga nabbed an estimated $3 billion contract. By January of this year, Siga's stock had skyrocketed. The House GOP has been investigating the deal for months, which comes amid separate allegations of insider trading and political profiteering by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer.
Stern and Perelman have been scratching each other's backs for years. In the fall of 2006, the SEIU backed off organizing protests against AlliedBarton, a security guard firm in Philadelphia owned by a Perelman interest -- and then remained quiet when the firm was bought out by a longtime SEIU nemesis, the Blackstone Group.
According to the L.A. Times, which exposed the scandal over the weekend, Obama's top biodefense bureaucrat Nicole Lurie railroaded a key dissenter at the Department of Health and Human Services who ridiculed Siga's inflated projected profit margins. Lurie soothingly reassured a whiny Siga executive that the "most senior procurement official" would take over and mollified him in a letter: "I trust this will be satisfactory to you."
Lurie falsely told the newspaper that she had never made contact with the official regarding the contract and deemed any such contact improper. When caught with documentation, her department spun the communication with Siga as a "national security" matter. Lurie, it should be noted, is a former Clintonite and Howard Dean health care consultant who was most recently in the headlines for pushing anthrax vaccine testing for children. According to the Labor Union Report, there have been market murmurs of a merger between Siga and the anthrax vaccine manufacturer, PharmAthene. Hard to trust Lurie's public health moral authority with the taint of pay-for-play wafting over the Siga deal.
As always, venture socialism backed by Big Labor muscle and White House wealth redistribution is hazardous to taxpayers' health.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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