Under White House direction, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly rushed through a $96 million contract with AirBoss of America for respirators and air filters in what appears to be the biggest no-bid contract awarded during the pandemic. Since no-bid contracts allow for direct contracts with corporations without the usual due diligence of a bidding process, there is more opportunity for undue industry influence, heightening the need for stricter scrutiny. Additionally, this massive contract represents two-thirds of the amount FEMA had spent on combating COVID-19 through April 8, which raises serious concerns that the government is paying more than necessary for essential items.
CREW has requested a copy of FEMA’s contract with Airboss of America and documents justifying the contract. CREW has also requested all records of communications between FEMA and the White House regarding the contract.
The requested records will shed light on the unusual factor of White House interference in FEMA’s procurement process, which raises questions of whether there are other reasons that this particular corporation received the award. Considering Trump’s repeated moves to privilege donors and allies, the public deserves to know if the White House is directing FEMA to make contract decisions based on political considerations or other factors not usually considered in the bidding process.