So it’s not just solar-energy boondoggles when it comes to the Obama White House rewarding top Obama donors.
And now, even a top Democrat is asking some serious questions.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has officially called on the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general to investigate a suspicious $433 million no-bid contract for a dubious smallpox vaccine.
Frankly, just about everything connected with this one smells.
The contract was awarded to Siga Technologies, a New York-based company whose principal investor is megabillionaire – and key Democratic moneyman – Ron Perelman.
Its board includes another key Democratic figure: Andy Stern, former head of the powerful SEIU union – who, it’s been reported, was given stock options that would dramatically increase in value if Siga won the contract.
Siga has been hired to provide 1.7 million doses of its smallpox vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile.
But its vaccine is considerably more expensive – $255 a dose – than the one now in use and has a significantly shorter shelf life: 38 months, although the contract requires a 60-month span.
According to internal e-mails recently revealed by The Los Angeles Times, HHS’ chief medical officer called Siga’s 180 percent markup on the vaccine “outrageous.”
Even more outrageous, the vaccine still hasn’t been tested on humans – meaning, as McCaskill wrote, that no one knows whether “it is actually safe for human use.”
Then there’s the way Siga actually got the contract: It won a competitive bid, even though the winner was required to be a small business – unlike Siga.
When another bidder, a legitimate small business, complained, HHS reopened the process – but barred any company but Siga from bidding.
Eventually, the bid was canceled, and Siga was simply asked to submit a proposal, which was accepted.
There is little here different from Solyndra – except for the fact that Siga doesn’t appear headed for bankruptcy.
But it’s another sign that political clout and influence hold sway in the Obama administration – with the taxpayer picking up the tab.