Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« Paying our respects: Journalist Frances Lewine (1921-2008) | Main | Life parodies The Wire: Baltimore Sun replaces crime reporters with blogger »

April 15, 2008

Texas polygamist cult got defence contracts

Wow:

FT. WORTH, Tex. American taxpayers have unwittingly helped finance a polygamist sect that is now the focus of a massive child abuse investigation in West Texas, with a business tied to the group receiving a nearly $1 million loan from the federal government and $1.2 million in military contracts.

The ability of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, to operate and grow is largely dependent on huge contributions from its members and revenue from the businesses they control, according to a former accountant for the church, and government officials in Utah and Arizona, where the sect is primarily based.

One of those businesses, NewEra Manufacturing in Las Vegas, has been awarded more than $1.2 million in federal government contracts, with most of the money coming in recent years from the Defense Department for wheel and brake components for military aircraft. [McClatchy]

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00e551ec16ba8834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Texas polygamist cult got defence contracts:

» Talk show host gets child rape wrong from Right Truth
Thursday, April 17, 2008, hearings begin in the largest child-welfare case in U.S. history -- referred to as the "West Texas polygamist colony." What's at issue here are the children who are being sexually abused (raped) by older men. While [Read More]

Comments

Happy tax day, fellow citizens!

I was just thinking recently- honest to Bog- that this cult was just too loathsome not be recieving some kind of subsidy from our government. And sure enough.

Just when we thought this military contractor morass couldn't get any stranger...

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

Just when we thought this military contractor morass couldn't get any stranger...

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

I don't even know what to think or where to start. Shock and awe.

I'm just trying to imagine the FLDS workers in their "Little House on the Prairie" costumes making aircraft parts.

I don't see where the "wow," "strangeness," or "shock" is here. The government awarded contracts to a a manufacturing company, not a religion. I don't expect the government to inquire about the religious beliefs or affiliations of the company owners before it awards the contracts. To the contrary, I would be rather disturbed if they did.

One of the most disturbing allegations in the McLatchy story is that the cult was using slave labor to fill its orders, right here in America. Cult members say they were coerced into working for little or nothing on the company business.

I still don't see the defense-contract story. If the business was engaged in felonies or illegal business practices, they should be investigated and/or charged with crimes. Relevant governmental agencies would be the DOJ, OSHA, etc. . . But it's not the DOD's job to perform these investigations. What are you thinking the DOD should have done differently here?

There are millions of people around the country who are receiving government money, and using that money to do terrible things. There are also many people who do terrible things in order to get government money. Unless the government is giving them the money in order to get the terrible things done, these are generally not stories.

I've yet to see any evidence that the DOD erred in giving those contracts to the cult. If the company was in fact qualified to do the work, and got the contracts through a fair procurement process, mazel tov.

The Fundamentalist LDS wouldn't be the first sect to do business with the federal government. The Moonies get government contracts to do all kinds of stuff, some of it legitimate, some of it apparent patronage. The president's "faith based" social service agenda is all about giving government contracts to religious groups.


Even if NewEra Manufacturing was uniquely qualified to handle these contracts, the US Government has a responsibility to prevent giving cash to companies where profits are disbursed to finance an ongoing criminal enterprise. Our government certainly should be clear on the NewEra Manufacturing/Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints connection as they awarded much of the work via a no-bid process. This was due to NEM proncipals "minority" status as Mormons.

Polygamy is one thing but FCJCLDS and its leadership actively encourages child rape. Child rape is a felony. In fact FBI Top Ten FBI List alumnus and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' former leader Warren Jeffs is currently serving 10 years to life in Federal prison for being an accomplice to rape. As the then reigning "prophet" of the FCJCLDS, Jeffs forced a 14 year-old into marrying her 19 year old cousin.

That is why I have a such problem with this.

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

PS Typepad still hates me.

Anacher, I agree that Warren Jeffs belongs in jail. But unless you have evidence that NewEra Manufacturing is engaged in child rape, and that the government has willfully turned a blind eye to it, I don't see the relevance of your comments.

I've yet to see any evidence that the DOD erred in giving those contracts to the cult.

OK, maybe I'm beating a dead horse here but. . . then what's the story? The story you link to, and the comments in the thread, indicate that I should be disturbed that, as Douglas chooses to put it, "American taxpayers have unwittingly helped finance a polygamist sect that is now the focus of a massive child abuse investigation. . ."

That's a pretty juicy lead, isn't it?

Suppose everyone at DOD followed their own rules to the letter. It still makes a citizen wonder what kind of vetting process might allow a contractor to (allegedly) fill government contracts with slave labor in the USA.

Maybe the ruse was so well-hidden that the DOD couldn't have known. Or, maybe some people looked the other way.

It's always news if a government-funded project turns out to be associated with a massive criminal enterprise.

If the DOD were making contracts with a firm owned by an acknowledged capo of La Casa Nostra, you'd want to know, right?

Autumn,
I don't know how to make this any more clear. The US government contracts NewEra Manufacturing to make wheel stuff for big planes. NewEra Manufacturing's profits then bankroll Warren Jeffs' child raping cult.

Does this company somehow have connections with Karl Rove's Mormon Pals? Is the fact this cult is based in Bush's home state a coincidence? Those are leads worth pursuing.

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud
TypePad hates me.

Lindsay, It's a juicy lead, but it's completely misleading. As I said before, I see nothing in the story to distinguish this case from the millions of others where someone receives government money and does bad things with the profits. Several years ago I was employed by a public university to teach physics. I used my salary to grow marijuana, and buy a machete. While on university-funded trips to conferences I used my machete to kill Korean-Americans [1]. I am currently on trial as a drug dealer and a serial killer. Now, I supppose it would be a juicy lead to describe my case as "The university has unwittingly helped finance a serial killer that is now the focus of a massive criminal investigation," and you could justify this by saying "It's always news if a government-funded project turns out to be associated with a massive criminal enterprise." But such descriptions wouldn't make any sense, since it's not the university's job to investigate whether I'm engaged in crimes, even if I am a state employee. That's the job of agencies like the DOJ and OSHA. Similarly, it's not the DOD's job to investigate what it's contractors are doing, so I don't see why you (and Anarcher) wonder what kind of "vetting process" the DOD has, or whether the "ruse was so well-hidden" that the DOD didn't find it. It doesn't make sense to wonder whether the ruse was hidden from the DOD, since there's no reason for the DOD to have been looking for it. If I buy some strawberries, and the strawberries turn out to have been made with slave labor, no one asks how this ruse of slave labor was so well-hidden from me. Because I'm not expected to routinely inspect every business I purchase from; neither is the DOD.

Even worse, in this case NewEra Manufacturing hasn't been charged with any crime. The company that you describe as, analogous to "an acknowledge capo of the La Casa Nostra," and Anarcher describes as "bankroll[ing] Warren Jeff's child raping cult," you and Anarcher have apparently decided is guilty of serious crimes, based purely on newspaper reports. In fact, so clearly guilty that we need to begin speculating as to how the DOD missed this clear evidence of guilt, and further speculating as if this is due to people at the DOD "looking the other way," or whether it's due to "connections with Karl Rove's Mormon pals." I think I'd like something more than a newspaper report that cites a single affidavit before I concluded that a company was guilty of serious crimes, let alone conclude that guilt was so obvious that anyone contracting with that company needed to be investigated. And, if in fact their guilt is so obvious to all, then the first question should be why the DOJ hasn't charged them with a crime, not why everyone who has engaged in a contract with them didn't do something about it.

Anyway, I can see we're not really getting anywhere. A disconnect somewhere. . .


[1] Some facts in this story have been changed to illustrate my point. My victims were actually Chinese-American

Autumn,
Your analogy is not analogous. Let's say your "University" is subsidized by US taxpayers. Regardless of what the "University" teaches or what it's individual employees grow and kill in their spare time, all profits from that taxpayer subsidy go to the "University's" owners. The "University's" owners then use said profits to support their child-raping cult lifestyle.

Shorter version: My tax dollars are going directly into the pocket of sex offenders.

As for how NewEra Manufacturing scored this contract, there are only two options: either somebody in the Bush Administration was “looking the other way” or the DOD is so completely fucking incompetent that their requisite military contract background check missed NewEra Manufacturing owners' felony-filled lifestyle. This took some doing when NEM was the only company the DOD considered for this "sole-source" contract.

No, I do not have any basis whatsoever for my speculation that the contract award could have something to do with Karl Rove's known Mormon connections or the coincidence of FCJCLDS' compound being located in Bush's adopted home state of Texas. But if the last eight years have taught me anything it is this, in Bush’s world there are few coincidences and nothing is too preposterous to be true.

BTW, my friends call me Anacher. 'Tho Anarcher is pretty funny, you can call me...

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud
TypePad hates me.

Faith-based contracting! They beleeves in Jesus! All's well with the world. Who needs competence?

I don't see anything wrong with a manufacturing company getting a contract. If you are familiar with the process (I have worked in an engineering firm that gets revenues entirely from gov contracts), then you understand you put together a proposal and you go through a process to bid for the contract with competitors. If you are working with the DOD, then you have various agencies that audit your business such as the DCAA. And seriously, $1.2 million is small change people.

I believe some of you are angry at the religion versus the facts of the contracting. If you are just outraged about the contracting, then I could tell you stories of plenty of waste in Iraq. How about a $60 million power plant and bunker system that were left unfinished and left to ruin. But we still got the money. Money in my pocket from taxpayers like you. Thanks! And yet you're worried about $1.2 million contract that is most probably very legit. And I won't even mention the fraud that went on with Hurricane Katrina, but there are so many idiots in this country who focus on the wrong stuff that I don't even care anymore, and I will gladly take your tax dollars when another opportunity arises. Hurricanes are so profitable, bring on another hurricane!

There's no shortage of outrage about contracting on this blog, believe me.

The comments to this entry are closed.