- FEMA privatized hurricane disaster recovery planning
for New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. The firms that received the
contract are big GOP contributors. Adding to the controversy regarding
the Army Corps of Engineers diverting $250 million from the SELA (Southeast
Louisiana) Urban Flood Control Program to Iraq and Halliburton reconstruction
projects, is the revelation that FEMA outsourced hurricane recovery planning
to the Baton Rouge-based consulting firm Innovative Emergency Management
(IEM), Inc. to develop a "Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan for
New Orleans & Southeast Louisiana." The award was announced on
June 3, 2004 on the firm's web site but was taken down just as Hurricane
Katrina's winds and waves first started pounding New Orleans. It would
now appear that the hurricane plan IEM and its team developed wasn't worth
a damned thing.
- IEM's team partners for the more than $500,000 contract
are Dewberry of Arlington, VA, URS Corporation of San Francisco, and James
Lee Witt Associates. Witt was FEMA Director under Bill Clinton. IEM's president
is Madhu Beriwal. The company was founded in 1985. Dewberry and URS are
engineering firms. IEM is also a Defense Department contractor and has
contracts with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) along
with team members Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin.
- Now for the interesting background on Ms. Beriwal. She
is a big-time contributor to the GOP. She's given thousands of dollars
to Republicans, including Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Mike Rogers
of Michigan, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Louisiana Rep. Bobby Jindal,
Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana, the National Republican Congressional
Committee, former Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson. Vitter was the largest
recipient of funds from Beriwal.
- The Chairman of Dewberry Sidney Dewberry, the Vice Chairman,
Barry K. Dewberry, and Secretary of the firm, Michael Dewberry have been
substantial contributors to George W. Bush, Virginia Sen. John Warner,
the National Republican Congressional Committee, Sen. Shelby, "Every
Republican is Crucial" Political Action Committee, Rep. Virgil Goode
of Virginia (also fingered in the Duke Cunningham MZM, Inc. scandal), Virginia
Sen. George Allen, Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia
Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican National
Committee, and the Federal Victory Fund of Annandale, VA controlled by
Tom Davis. The Dewberrys have also contributed to the financially-tainted
Democrat from Virginia's 8th District, Jim Moran.
- URS's board of directors includes Richard Blum, the husband
of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and retired General Joseph
Ralston, the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current
Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group (former Defense Secretary William Cohen's
firm). Ralston also served as a director of the Timken Company, the firm
of current US ambassador to Germany William Timken, a big time contributor
to George W. Bush.
- Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has announced that she
is hiring Witt to assist in the hurricane recovery. Just a minute here.
His firm (which includes retired Gen. Wesley Clark) was part of the IEM
team that came up with the non-existent $500,000 FEMA New Orleans-Southeast
Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan. Why pay this guy again
for his incompetence? Republicans + Democrats = Partners in Crime.