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Every Voice and Latino Victory Project Call for Investigation of Puerto Rico Recovery Contract

October 24, 2017 | Laura Friedenbach

Company Linked to Major Trump Donor Awarded $300 Million Contract to Help Restore Power in Puerto Rico

Washington, D.C. — Following reporting that a small utility company financed by one of President Donald Trump’s big donors was awarded a $300 million contract to help restore power in Puerto Rico, money-in-politics watchdog Every Voice and the Latino Victory Project are calling on Congress to investigate whether the contract puts the interests of Puerto Ricans first. 

“On its face, this looks like a shameless attempt to give a sweetheart deal to a big donor, while millions of Americans in Puerto Rico await critical and much-needed relief,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “Congress must urgently investigate whether this deal puts the interest of Puerto Ricans first, or is just a massive handout to a big donor at the expense of the majority of Puerto Ricans who are still without power. To ensure shameless giveaways like this one never happen again, we must fix our broken campaign finance system that too often puts donor interests ahead of the public interest.” 

“Donald Trump is adding insult to injury by handing over the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s electric infrastructure to his cronies,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Project. “This decision smacks of corruption and is just the latest instance of negligence and ineptitude by Donald Trump. Congress must act immediately to ensure the people of Puerto Rico are not shortchanged once again by this Administration.” 

The Washington Post first reported yesterday that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority awarded the contract to Whitefish Energy Holdings—a two-year-old company based out of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana and with just two full-time employees at the time when Hurricane Maria made landfall. A Daily Beast investigation revealed that the company is primarily financed by a private-equity firm run by Joe Colonnetta who along with his wife contributed $89,500 to support Republicans and President Trump’s 2016 campaign. 

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Every Voice is a national organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone.