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Help Us Keep an Eye on Stimulus Contractors

As we noted on Monday, the nonprofit investigative outlet California Watch has a new story out on how large corporations like Boeing, BP and Rio Tinto have secured tens of millions in stimulus dollars despite previous pollution fines and alleged fraud, with Boeing actually getting a contract to monitor a site it was previously fined for polluting.

It’s just the latest story in a category that interests us: past transgressions by contractors that have become stimulus winners. We plan to keep scrutinizing firms in this second year of stimulus spending. If you’ve spotted other contractors with past misconduct, e-mail us.

ProPublica first reported on the issue last May, uncovering the fact that companies getting millions in stimulus cash had been fined for pollution and environmental destruction or investigated for refusing to hire black employees. One stimulus contractor had been rebuked for poorly screening interrogators who later abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Last September, The New York Times examined local companies receiving stimulus funds, finding that the construction firm Bovis Lend Lease LMB had received a $6 million grant despite having been the subject of two recent criminal investigations involving a 2007 fire that killed two New York firemen.

In October, ProPublica reported that six companies got nearly $30 million while under federal criminal investigation for fraud. Separately, The Washington Post reported that $1.2 billion in stimulus funds had gone to companies in the Project on Government Oversight’s contractor misconduct database, which tracks violations and lawsuits involving the 100 largest federal contractors. One of the companies, Honeywell International, has been sued by the Justice Department, accused of costing the government millions of dollars by selling the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security faulty bulletproof vests.

In December, the New England Center for Investigative Journalism at Boston University found that "13 of the 21 companies that had been awarded transportation stimulus contracts in Massachusetts as of Sept. 20 have a history of law breaking." These companies received a combined $54 million in funds.

Are you aware of other stimulus contractors that should be investigated? E-mail us.

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