An investigation by some media outlets has found that as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, current Transportation Security Pete Buttigieg awarded $33 million in contracts to organizations that had given him gifts and campaign contributions.
The media outlets who uncovered this don’t include The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, CBC, CNN, NBC or MSNBC, the same outlets that were eager to jump on then-HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s pseudo “furniture scandal” four years ago.
They instead include the Daily Mail, a British outlet.
“Buttigieg’s political action committees took money from 23 companies who then got jobs from South Bend’s Board of Public Works whose members he appointed,” the Daily Mail reported Wednesday, citing certain documents it’d obtained.
“On two occasions, the former presidential candidate received donations the same day the companies were awarded contracts. Other city contractors gifted the mayor cigars, alcohol and golf trips worth hundreds of dollars. The companies, their executives and spouses donated a total $253,750 to Buttigieg’s campaigns, and received a total of at least $33,310,426 in city contracts between 2011 and 2019.”
Recall the uproar over Carson allegedly buying $30,000+ in furniture using HUD money:
The HUD IG is clearing Secretary Ben Carson of wrongdoing for his plan to purchase $31k in office furniture without notifying congress. The report says that while the money was obligated, “HUD did not ultimately purchase this furniture”
— Kristin Donnelly (@kristindonnelly) September 12, 2019
In some instances, Buttigieg reportedly appointed former company executives to South Bend’s Public Works department, only to see the executives turn around and award contracts to their ostensible former employers.
According to Taxpayers Protection Alliance president David Williams, the current transportation secretary’s past behavior reeks of quid pro quo.
“This is alarming, and very concerning, because this is the swamp personified. You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to look at this and think that something’s wrong here. Was there a quid pro quo? Was there some sort of backroom deal for these projects? taxpayers deserve answers,” Williams told the Mail.
“The pattern of contracts and donations appears to be a huge conflict of interest. This really doesn’t bode well for the secretary of transportation when he has access to almost $1.2 trillion in infrastructure money.”
A spokesperson for Transparency International, one of the top 10 think tanks in the world, added in a statement to the Mail that there’s an “obvious stench” to Buttigieg’s behavior as mayor.
“I’m stunned if it is true that South Bend, Indiana, doesn’t have laws on the books that prohibit this. At the federal level, this would be entirely illegal. A federal contractor cannot make a contribution to a candidate, because of the obvious conflict of interest,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson, Scott Greytak, Director of Advocacy for the nonprofit’s US branch, added that the laws in South Bend “should be just as strong.”
“You’re not going to find a smoking gun in how access, influence and power works in American politics. So campaign finance restrictions are supposed to serve as proxies for preventing corruption,” he said.
“The idea that a company that has either a potential or a pending contract, or recently was a government contractor, is able to so expressly and openly give money to the people involved in those decisions, is a fundamentally corrupt system. I’m stunned that the elected leaders there would want to operate in a system that allows for such potential perception of corruption.”
In a statement to the Daily Mail, a City of South Bend spokesperson dismissed concerns about potential corruption and quid pro quo, saying that Buttigieg “was not involved in the awarding of engineering and construction contracts.”
Every contract was awarded via “a professional procurement process” that was “public and transparent,” with the contract ultimately going “to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder per state law,” the spokesperson added.
The DOT has likewise disputed the idea that there might be any quid pro quo or other corruption with Buttigieg now helming the agency, calling the idea “absurd.”
Speaking on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” late Wednesday, Fox News contributor Ainsley Earhardt warned that if by chance the allegations of quid pro quo are true, “it could be extremely problematic and very serious for him going forward.”
However, host Jesse Watters pushed back, arguing that the Daily Mail’s reporting seems like an attempt to smear Buttigieg with baseless accusations. He even speculated that the reporting has Vice President Kamala Harris’ “fingerprints all over it.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 3, 2021
But Earhardt noted that, while it’s true that the City of South Bend has defended Buttigieg, the facts do nevertheless paint a troubling picture.
“He was invited to the Christmas party. He was invited to all these golf outings. He got gifts that included alcohol and cigars. And then there are two construction companies on this list, they gave him money, then that very same day that they gave the check, they received city contracts — one of them 600,000, another 400,000,” she said.
But there’s more. Buttigieg is also reportedly tied to a major dark money group, according to Jacobin magazine, which is anything but right-wing. How close are Buttigieg’s ties to the group? So much so that HE HIMSELF launched it.
“After dropping out of the 2020 Democratic primary, Pete Buttigieg formed a political action committee called Win the Era, as well as a social welfare nonprofit called Win the Era Action Fund, which has funneled $1.9 million to the PAC since 2020 to use its email list and pay for some administrative costs,” the left-wing magazine reported last month.
“While the nonprofit suggested last year it would start voluntarily disclosing its donors, it has not yet done so. According to Win the Era Action Fund’s first tax return, obtained by us, the dark money group raised $2.1 million in 2020. The group raised $870,000 — or roughly 40 percent of that haul — from donors who gave at least six figures. The biggest donor gave $250,000. Another gave $120,000, and five other contributors each gave $100,000.”
Pete Buttigieg will be confirmed as Transportation Secretary.
Meanwhile he’s the public rep for a dark money group called Win the Era. The refuse to reveal their donor names.
The DOT hands out billions in government contracts. Not good.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) January 21, 2021
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