Just months after President Donald Trump took office, the federal government signed a contract to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jet fuel from a university run by one of the president’s top political supporters.
The Pentagon’s energy-procurement arm inked the contract, valued at nearly $900,000, with a company called Freedom Aviation on May 9, 2017, and has purchased more than $400,000 in turbine fuel from the company since then. Freedom Aviation is wholly owned by Liberty University, a conservative school in Lynchburg, Virginia, led by high-profile Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr.
Falwell, whose father was a prominent evangelical leader, remains one of the president’s most committed backers in the conservative Christian community. And Trump has reciprocated that support. Just four days after the Pentagon inked its contract with Freedom Aviation, the president gave the commencement address at Liberty University.
Falwell also appears to have used Freedom Aviation in service of the Trump campaign. He officially endorsed Trump in late January 2016, and joined him at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a day before the state’s crucial Republican presidential caucus. About a week later, the Trump campaign paid Freedom Aviation more than $19,000 for air travel expenses.
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