Larsen calls for throwing kickback cronies into the penalty box

Nov 15, 2011

Whidbey News-Times

November 15, 2011

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Arlington, today called on Congress to prohibit the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from awarding contracts to felons convicted of contract fraud, waste and abuse, according to a press release from his office.

Larsen, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, introduced a motion to recommit the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011 that would have prevented the Coast Guard and Army Corps from awarding such contracts.

The motion failed on a vote of 189 to 235.

"Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on bribery and kickbacks for Coast Guard and Army Corps contracts. Taxpayer dollars have been illegally used to buy BMWs, Rolexes, flat-screen televisions, investment properties, and more, all in exchange for lucrative sole-sourced and open-ended contracts potentially worth more than $1.7 billion," Larsen said in a press release. "This amendment would have simply prohibited contracts to convicted felons who have lost the public trust. Instead of kickbacks, we would be kicking these criminals into the penalty box."

Just last month a federal magistrate judge indicted four individuals on an alleged bribery and kickback scheme on Army Corps contracts that defrauded taxpayers a minimum of $20 million.