White House blames Puerto Rico for scandalous $300 million contract given to company funded by Trump donor
The White House on Friday blamed officials in Puerto Rico for the scandalous $300 million contract that was given to a company funded by a major Trump donor.
As reported by CNN’s David Wright, the White House said that the contract given to WhiteFish Energy — in which the company with only two full-time employees was awarded $300 million to restore power to Puerto Rico — was entirely the responsibility of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
“The White House is not aware of any federal involvement in the selection,” the White House explained. “Questions should be directed to [PREPA].”
White House statement: "The decision to give a contract to Whitefish Energy was made exclusively by Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority." pic.twitter.com/1EvrSr1hRt
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) October 27, 2017
The contract with WhiteFish is particularly controversial because it contains provisions that completely bar government oversight over the way that WhiteFish spends the money it has been given. The contract also bars PREPA from making any claims against WhiteFish if it fails to complete its work on time.
WhiteFish has multiple connections to Trump administration officials. It is based in the tiny town of Whitefish, Montana, which is also the hometown of Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It is also funded by private-equity firm HBC Investments, whose CEO, Joe Colonnetta, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and to President Trump himself.