The Department of Justice has uncovered another of those infamous Bush political appointees who do beeg, beeg favors for friends on the right.
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 department's public integrity section declined to pursue civil or criminal charges against Flores after ethics watchdogs forwarded their findings, investigators said.
Wait! How come? Shouldn't Flores be prosecuted?
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.
Flores evidently handed out a job to private contractor with what sounds like an interesting background, having kind of snuck him in through the back door.
Investigators focused in part on the hiring of Hector Rene Fonseca, a former Colombian military official who worked as a contractor to the office between November 2004 and July 2007, when he collected about $281,000 for his work on anti-gang programs.
The Washington Post got that one wrong. Actually, Hector Rene Fonseca is a Honduran colonel (trained in the US) and former presidential candidate with an interesting history. Last June, ABC News broadcast a story about him. The guy got some some pretty nice pay from us taxpayers.
The staffer said it took Flores a year to jump over all the legal hurdles necessary to hire Fonseca and went so far as to get a waiver from the Assistant Attorney General for Administration at Main Justice. The staffer said the Human Resources Department was concerned that giving access to the DOJ computer system to a non-US citizen and a former Honduran Colonel could be dangerous for security reasons.
Fonseca, whose Honduran military career spanned three decades, was contracted to work on faith-based and gang issues, according to DOJ staff members. The staffer familiar with Fonseca's contract said Flores invented the job and that no one in the office knew that job was needed until the HR Department was told to hire Fonseca. He was paid $450 per day and was expected to work full time, according to the staffer.
I love the fact that this expensive, well-connected Central American political and military figure was hired by our Justice Department to promote "Christian principles", don't you? Doesn't the phrase "banana republic" come to mind? What I want to know more about is exactly why the DOJ "declined to pursue" charges against this brat pack. Dream on.