Raw Story: A $6 billion federal program created to provide fresh produce to families affected by the pandemic was mismanaged and used by the Trump administration for political gain, a new congressional report has found.
As a ProPublica investigation revealed last spring and as the new report further details, the Farmers to Families Food Box program gave contracts to companies that had no relevant experience and often lacked necessary licenses.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which released its report last week, found that former President Donald Trump’s administration did not adequately screen contractor applications or identify red flags in bid proposals.
One company that received a $39 million contract was CRE8AD8 LLC (pronounced “Create a Date”), a wedding and event planning firm. The owner compared the contract to his usual work of “putting tchotchkes in a bag.”
In response to the report, the firm’s CEO said in a statement, “We delivered far more boxes/pounds than many other contractors and as a for-profit company, we’re allowed to make a profit.”
On the first day of the Republican National Convention in August 2020, President Trump and his daughter headlined a nearby event to announce an additional $1 billion for the food box program. Then-Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also spoke at the event and encouraged attendees to reelect the president.
A federal ethics office later found that Perdue’s speech violated a federal law that prohibits officials from using their office for campaign purposes. The USDA at the time disputed the notion that Perdue was electioneering, saying that Perdue’s comments merely “predicted future behavior based on the president’s focus on helping ‘forgotten people.'”
Wedding Planner, Caterer, “Brand Builder”: Trump’s Food Aid Program Is Paying $100+ Million to Unlicensed Dealers
Contractors with no experience in food distribution are looking for suppliers on Facebook while some food banks scramble to find desperately needed deliveries.