A recent inspector general report suggesting that ICE unlawfully allocated $87 million in a single-source contract to a nonprofit in Texas is being investigated by Republican lawmakers.
To house illegal immigrants in hotels, the ICE collaborated with a San Antonio-based nonprofit company called Endeavors. According to The Epoch Times, “ICE spent around $17 million for hotel rooms and services at about six hotels that were mainly unused between the months of April and June 2021.”
In early May, a group of Congressional Republicans sent a letter to Tae Johnson, the acting ICE director, requesting evidence and information relating to the agreement.
“We are writing this letter to express some of our concerns at the potential waste of millions of tax dollars and misuse of the contracting process by ICE officials. According to a current DHS Inspector General study, ICE officials have bypassed the normal competitive process to offer a huge, one-source contract worth $87 million and then wasted over $17 million in taxpayer money because hotel rooms allocated for migrant families remained empty and were generally unused.”
The Post went on to call the $17 million “unjustifiable,” noting that it might create an ethical quandary through the contract. It continued, “Wasting $17 million on hotel rooms that were unused and paid for by taxpayers is inexcusable. Unfortunately, these difficulties are neither surprising nor uncommon considering the potential conflicts of interest that were inherent in this agreement.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Michael Cloud, Jody Hicc, James Comer, Glenn Grothman, Ralph Norman, Virginia Foxx, Jim Jordan, Bob Gibbs, Nancy Mace, Pete Sessions, Clay Higgins, Andy Biggs, Andrew Clyde, Fred Keller, Scott Franklin, Jake LaTurner, Yvette Herrell, Pat Fallon, and Byron Donalds.
After reading the IG’s report, members of Congress spoke out and expressed ethical concerns about why the awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to a single supplier rather than going through a “competitive procurement process.”
The report stated, “ICE awarded a sole source the contract to Endeavors, which had submitted an unsolicited proposal for hotel rooms for migrant families, rather than using the competitive procurement procedure.”
The Republicans’ letter written to Johnson raises alarms about this potential conflict of interest, pointing out that Endeavors was able to acquire these funds after hiring on Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, a long-time Biden administration ally.
“Endeavors won the contract and future bigger contracts with the Dept. of Health and Human Services by using a no-bid process shortly after hiring Andrew Lorenzen-Strait as the leading Director for Migrant Services and Federal Affairs, who is a political ally of the Biden Administration,” according to the letter.