No Comment — May 4, 2009, 4:36 pm

Justice in the Gutter, Continued

In “Justice in the Gutter,” I discussed the mounting evidence that a Bush political appointee had exploited his sinecure in the Office of Juvenile Justice to funnel contracts to political cronies. Now an investigation by the Office of Inspector General has validated those reports. Here’s Carrie Johnson in the Friday Washington Post:

A former Justice Department grant-making administrator violated federal ethics and procurement rules in awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in sole source contracts to ideologically favored companies and individuals, the department’s inspector general concluded today. The administrator, J. Robert Flores, was a political appointee during former president George Bush’s administration who left his post after the inauguration in January…

The report issued this morning culminates a nearly two-year investigation into alleged irregularities with grants awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention during the Bush administration.

At the core of the study is a figure named Hector Rene Fonseca, identified by the Post as a retired Colombian military officer. Josh Marshall offers the far more interesting facts:

Fonseca is actually a former Colonel in the Honduran military. He apparently got his start in US right-wing politics when he married Deborah Lynne De Moss, daughter of the right-wing philanthropist De Moss family, who was then Director of Latin American Affairs for Sen. Jesse Helms, generally known for archaic views on Latin American affairs generally. That was back in 1994.

Primed with that juice in the US and Honduras, Fonseca later ran for President of Honduras (though De Moss may have tripped up his chances by threatening to sic her “contacts” on Fonseca’s enemies) before seeing those dreams come to naught and angling for a soft landing with right-wing crony welfare courtesy of the Bush Justice Department.

So contracts were being awarded to feed a member of the movement conservative inner circle, with plenty of Religious Right connections to boot. The Inspector General concluded that the contract awards to Flores were a “misuse of funds.”

Other major contract beneficiaries were World Golf Foundation’s First Tee Initiative (honorary chair: George H.W. Bush); the Best Friends Foundation (headed by Mrs. William Bennett); and Victory Outreach, which had hired a former Bush White House official. The pattern is very consistent.

So what’s the Justice Department’s reaction to this? No charges will be brought. Seems that’s been the consistent Justice Department reaction to every established allegation of gross corruption involving political appointees at the Department since 2001. And who at Justice made that determination? That would be the Public Integrity Section, whose leadership is itself now the target of a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor. Maybe this decision needs to be reviewed by someone who actually knows something about public integrity.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2016

Fighting Chance

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Front Runner

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Habits of Highly Cynical People

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Unhackable

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

American Imperium

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Elisabeth Zerofsky on Marine Le Pen, Paul Wachter on the quest for an unhackable email, Rebecca Solnit on cynical people, Andrew J. Bacevich on truth and fiction in the age of war, Samuel James photographs E.P.L. soccer, a story by Vince Passaro, and more

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Front Runner·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The F.N. asked to be sent to an institution whose legitimacy it did not accept, and French voters rewarded the party with first place in the election."
Illustration (detail) by Matthew Richardson
Memoir
I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A paean 2 Prince
"And one thinks, Looking into Prince's eyes must be like looking at the world."
Photo ©© PeterTea
Article
Stop Hillary!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As wacky as it sometimes appears on the surface, American politics has an amazing stability and continuity about it."
Article
Plexiglass·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Photograph (detail) by Karine Laval

Number of cows electrocuted by a faulty milking machine in Maidstone, England, last March:

33

Entomologists working in Iran and Turkey learned that a rare species of solitary bee builds brood chambers of brightly colored flower petals.

The Finnish postal service announced it will begin mowing lawns on Tuesdays.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today