Interior Secretary Thomas Zinke said Friday he made welcome an investigation into a heavily criticized agreement to rebuild Puerto Ricoâs energy grid.
Congressional Democrats have required an investigation into how a Whitefish, Mont., company was granted a $300 million contract to repair downed transmitting lines in Puerto Rico. Whitefish Energy Holdings had just 2 full-time employees at the time the agreement was awarded. It is headquartered within the hometown of Zinke, the former congressman who now runs the Division of Interior. Whitefish has a people of just over 7, 000 individuals.
âNeither myself nor anyone in my office has advocated for this company in anyway,â wrote Zinke in a declaration Friday. âAfter the initial contract was awarded, I was contacted by the company, on which I took no action. All records, which are being made available to appropriate officials, will prove no involvement. I welcome any and all investigations into these allegations, and encourage the Interior Departmentâs Inspector General to investigate this matter fully.â
Zinke did not state whenever all records would be made available to the general public.
The White House and the Government Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have got denied any connection to the deal, proclaiming that it was a decision made by local authorities within Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello has said there will be âhell to payâ if investigators find any wrongdoing. The contract says FEMA authorized off on the deal, but the company has disputed that assertion.
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has already granted $3. 7 million to Whitefish Energy Holdings to mobilize employees and equipment. The deal sets the particular pay rate for subcontractors â? the bulk of the companyâs work force â? at over $300 per hour.
âI had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,â added Zinke. âAny attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless. Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime.â
Zinke is currently below investigation for the use of a private plane to provide a speech to the Las Vegas Fantastic Knights, the NHL team possessed by a donor to Zinkeâs prior congressional campaigns. He has also purchased staffers to raise a special flag in the Department of Interior headquarters within Washington, D. C., whenever this individual enters the building and has commissioned exclusive coins with his name on them to provide to visitors.
Read more through Yahoo News: