Something Here Does Not Add Up

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Here’s a story in The Washington Post. On its face, it’s how things should work: bipartisan cooperation to make sure things run right. There seems to be bipartisan agreement that the board charged with providing financial oversight of Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy process should appoint an emergency manager to oversee the territory’s bankrupt power company, PREPA.

That seems a bit draconian. The territory’s governor opposes the move. But as the Post describes it, the push to do this is coming from Democrats up in arms over that inexplicable $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy, the two year old, two person contractor out of Montana with juice in the Trump administration. But Mick Mulvaney, OMB Director, also thinks it’s necessary to appoint the emergency manager. Because he’s such a zealous custodian of federal dollars and the Whitefish Energy deal seems fishy.

Again, on the face of it, wow, everyone seems to agree! How great!

But I’m more than a bit suspicious of Mick Mulvaney. And how exactly did that Whitefish Energy contract come about in the first place? Getting to the bottom of that seems like the first order of business. It’s owned by a friend of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and based in Zinke’s hometown. Zinke’s son even briefly worked for the company. And there’s more! It’s main financing comes from a major Trump donor.

You’re going to have to come up with a pretty strong alternative explanation to convince me that the juice for Whitefish to get this fabulously lucrative contract didn’t come from within the Trump administration as opposed to some kind of nefariousness the Trump administration wants to clamp down on.

The Daily Beast noted that the Colonettas, the money behind Whitefish, not only gave money to Trump and have a relationship with Zinke. They’ve also recently shown up at meet and greets with Ben Carson and Rex Tillerson. A member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives told the Beast this …

Luis Vega-Ramos, member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, told The Daily Beast, “Whitefish’s most important expertise or assets seems to have been… having the U.S. secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, as their former congressman and current ally and having the wisdom to retain the services of key people close to the governor [of Puerto Rico].”

I’m not sure who’s scamming who here. But the Whitefish contract seems comically off. And I’m not buying the idea that Trump’s OMB Director wants to clamp down because of a contract that seems to have been secured because some money people had so much juice in the Trump administration.

Can someone who knows the players give me some guidance here?

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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