The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Monday, April 30, 2007

AP: Corps Lifted Pump Specs From Company -- Typos Included

AP: Corps Lifted Pump Specs From Company -- Typos Included

POSTED: 4:20 pm CDT April 30, 2007
UPDATED: 7:04 pm CDT April 30, 2007
NEW ORLEANS -- A review of documents by The Associated Press found that when the Army Corps of Engineers solicited bids for drainage pumps for New Orleans, it copied the specifications -- typos and all -- from the catalog of the manufacturer that ultimately won the $32 million contract.

The pumps, supplied by Moving Water Industries of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and installed at canals before the start of the 2006 hurricane season, proved to be defective, as the AP reported in March. The matter is under investigation by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

In a letter dated April 13, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., called on the Corps to look into how the politically connected company got the post-Hurricane Katrina contract. MWI employed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush's brother, to market its pumps during the 1980s, and top MWI officials have been major contributors to the Republican Party.

While it may not be a violation of federal regulations to adopt a company's technical specifications, it is frowned on, especially for large jobs like the MWI contract.

Contractors familiar with Corps practices said that's because it could give the impression the job was rigged for the benefit of a certain companies.

The Corps' January 2006 call for bids for 34 pumps used the wording on how the pumps should be built and tested, with minor changes, found in MWI catalogs.

The specifications were so similar that an erroneous phrase in MWI catalogs -- "the discharge tube and head assembly shall be abrasive resistance steel" -- also appears in the Corps specifications. The phrase should say "abrasion resistant steel."

An incorrect reference to the type of steel that would be required apparently was also lifted.

Eugene Pawlik, a Corps spokesman in Washington, said the agency is working on a response to Vitter's letter.

MWI declined to discuss how it won the contract. GAO would not talk about its probe.


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