The Army Corps of Engineers used pump specs for bid solicitation right out of the catalog of Jeb Bush's old company--MWI.....the company that ended up getting the bid.
NEW ORLEANS -- A review of documents by The Associated Press found that when the Army Corps of Engineers solicited bids for drainage pumps for New Orleans, it copied the specifications -- typos and all -- from the catalog of the manufacturer that ultimately won the $32 million contract.
While it may not be a violation of federal regulations to adopt a company's technical specifications, it is frowned on, especially for large jobs like the MWI contract.
Contractors familiar with Corps practices said that's because it could give the impression the job was rigged for the benefit of a certain companies.
The Corps' January 2006 call for bids for 34 pumps used the wording on how the pumps should be built and tested, with minor changes, found in MWI catalogs.
The specifications were so similar that an erroneous phrase in MWI catalogs -- "the discharge tube and head assembly shall be abrasive resistance steel" -- also appears in the Corps specifications. The phrase should say "abrasion resistant steel."
Keep this in mind...
MWI employed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush's brother, to market its pumps during the 1980s, and top MWI officials have been major contributors to the Republican Party.
Our government is broken.
UPDATE: Better AP article here. GAO has been investigating since news of defective pumps came to light. Another company that bid on the contract charges that MWI had "a head's up" which was "evident by MWI's order for pump engines before the contract was even put out to bid."
UPDATE: Matt at Fix the Pumps blog who has been documenting the many problems with the NOLA pumps had a post earlier this month on the rusted pump pipes. They were never painted. The bid specs never mentioned painting them which Matt stated was weird, as in baffling, because even the Corps' Engineering Manual that deals with piping states protective coating should be applied to pipes. I guess that mystery is now solved.
Matt has pics of rusted pipes, rusted bolts and duct taped oil hoses. Must be seen to be believed.
UPDATE: 5/1/07....New revelation--Second bid solicitation using MWI's specs in June 06--after Corps memo on MWI's defective pumps--solicitation was cancelled when another bidder threatened to sue