'Alarming': Donors to Buttigieg's campaigns 'got $33 million in contracts'

Pete Buttigieg (MSNBC video screenshot)
Pete Buttigieg (MSNBC video screenshot)

An investigation by the Daily Mail, a publication in the United Kingdom, reveals that Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden’s transportation chief, took $250,000 in campaign donations from people and companies that later got $33 million in city contracts while he was mayor in South Bend, Indiana.

For example, the Troyer Group donated $9,000, then got contracts worth more than $1.7 million. Donations totaling $8,100 from Walsh & Kelly were followed by more than $7.6 million in city contracts. Selge Construction wrote checks for $4,250 and saw contracts worth more than $4 million arrive on its doorstep.

The investigation showed that Buttigieg’s political action committees got money from 23 companies “who then got jobs from South Bend’s Board of Public Works.” Sometimes those donations and contracts happened on the same day.

The investigation said the companies, or their executives and their spouses, turned over $253,750 to Buttigieg’s campaigns, and then got “at least $33,310,426” in city contracts between 2011 and 2019.

The Daily Mail reported: “Government watchdogs say the pattern of donations and contracts could present the appearance of a ‘pay to play’ scandal – and raises concerns over the $210 billion earmarked in the bipartisan infrastructure bill for Buttigieg to dish out in discretionary grants as transport secretary, part of a $1.2 trillion budget.”

In fact, David Williams of Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told the publication, “The pattern of contracts and donations appears to be a huge conflict of interest. This really doesn’t bode well for the secretary of transportation when he has access to almost $1.2 trillion in infrastructure money. ‘This is alarming, and very concerning, because this is the swamp personified. You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to look at this and think that something’s wrong here.”

The Daily Mail said the response from South Bend officials was that Buttigieg didn’t award the contracts and all of them were handled “through a professional procurement process that is public and transparent.”

But the report also confirmed the 40-year-old, who was appointed by Joe Biden to the federal post last year, “cultivated close relationships with construction firms during his tenure in South Bend, which became a large source of funding for his political campaigns.”

Buttigieg, whose own campaign for the Democrat nomination to be president collapsed, received $1,500 for a mayoral campaign in 2011 from Marlin Knowles, a co-owner of American Structurepoint. In November 2012, Buttigieg appointed Structurepoint executive Eric Horvath as chief of the city’s Public Works agency, and the following year the company got a contract for a Smart Streets Project, the report found.

“Between January 2014 and March 2019, senior executive vice president at the company, Greg Henneke, donated $31,850 to Mayor Pete’s campaigns. Over the same period, the company was awarded more than $790,000 in city contracts by the BPW, on which Buttigieg sat and former Structurepoint executive Horvath is executive director,” the Daily Mail noted.

“American Structurepoint was given $98,860 in two contracts on February 14, 2017, just one day after Henneke donated $1,000 to Buttigieg’s campaign to become Democratic National Committee chair, Pete For DNC.”

The Daily Mail did quote a “source” who said some of the donors “lost contract bids while Buttigieg was mayor, and others … worked on projects like the Smart Sewers program that saved the city hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The report noted that documentation for donors to the campaigns was not saved.

The Daily Mail said Scott Greytak, of Transparency International, said, “At the federal level, this would be entirely illegal. A federal contractor cannot make a contribution to a candidate, because of the obvious conflict of interest.”

The Department of Transport told the publication that, “Sec. Buttigieg knows that the American people have put their faith in the Biden-Harris Administration to responsibly deliver the benefits of the [infrastructure bill] — and that’s exactly what he will do.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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