Something fishy here. The question is, who got the kickback?
A group of lawmakers is planning to request a congressional investigation of a $418 million U.S. weapons sale to Kenya approved by the Obama administration on its last day in office.
The sale, approved by the State Department and privately notified to Congress on January 19, would allow Kenya to buy 14 weaponized crop-duster-like planes — including two trainer planes and services, for missions against terrorist group al-Shabaab.
The deal was publicly announced the Monday after Trump’s inauguration.
A handful of lawmakers, led by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), are questioning why the contract to produce the planes was awarded to major defense firm L3 Technologies — which has never produced such a plane — while a smaller, disabled veteran-owned company in North Carolina that already make those planes at a lower cost was not considered.
The Mooresville, N.C. company, IOMAX USA Inc., costed out 14 planes at $237 million dollars, according to a Budd aide.
“It looks like politics,” Budd said in a phone interview with Breitbart News on Monday. “Why are they sending it to someone that’s produced zero, for twice the price? This is inappropriate.”
Later this week, Budd and several other GOP congressmen are planning to request the non-partisan investigation.
The request for an investigation comes after the lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to figure out how the New York-based L3 received the “sole-source” primary contract, which means there is only one known source for the equipment requested, or only one single supplier that can fulfill the requirements.
IOMAX was unaware of the contract until the State Department, which approves all foreign military sales, publicly announced it on Jan. 23, the Monday after Trump was sworn in.
Typically, with a foreign military sale, an ally would notify and work with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a Pentagon agency, to request weapons.
DSCA would then work with the nation to specify requirements and write a Letter of Request for the weapons. The letter would be sent to an “implementing agency.” After price and other details are worked out, the Pentagon would issue a recommendation, and the State Department would approve or disapprove the sale. The DSCA would receive about a four percent cut of the total sale.
Lawmakers suspect, though have no evidence, that in this case, the implementing agency — an Air Force acquisition office, known as the “Big Safari” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, steered the contract to L3.