Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted by FEMA in the awarding of Katrina recovery contracts, according to a U.S. House of Representatives study released today by House Democrats. Audits show that of $10.6 billion worth of contracts awarded, more than $7.4 billion were given with either no bidding or limited bidding. In addition, nineteen contracts worth $8.75 billion wasted taxpayer money in part through double-billing or non-use of purchased items.
While acknowledging that some of the contracts needed to be awarded on an emergency, no-bid basis, Democrats pointed out that, as time passed, the number of no-bid or limited-bid contracts actually increased. Bechtel, CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor–companies with strong political connections–were found by auditors to have wasted post-Katrina recovery money. These same companies were just awarded millions of dollars worth of temporary housing contracts by FEMA.