Nov
12
2011

Obama administration gives $433m no-bid contract to Democratic donor.

The last time I checked, didn’t the Left call this sort of thing ‘crony capitalism?’

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

As you probably know, smallpox was eradicated in the wild decades ago: mostly because it was a genuinely terrifying threat to humanity, and humanity didn’t get to the top of the food chain by being anything less than ruthlessly efficient when it comes to threats. So the virus now exists only in a few research locations, and we do in fact maintain sufficient stocks of existing vaccines to control an outbreak (whether via accident and/or terrorist activity).

Perelman’s drug (ST-426), on the other hand? Not tested on humans, costs 85x what the existing vaccine does, is only intended for people who missed a four day window after exposure – and was fast-tracked through the approval process by administration officials anyway, to the point of reassigning health care experts who kept pointing out all of this. And, oh yes, said officials denied the existence of correspondence between them and the company (Siga) that makes ST-426.

Read the whole article: there’s a lot in there, from the way that the administration deliberately eliminated competitors to Siga from the bid process (claiming urgent need) to the minor detail that Siga brought SEIU leader and key Obama ally Andy Stern literally on board in 2010. It’s also pretty handy as an example of how to break the intent of the law without actually quite having it proved that you broke the letter of it: the great flaw of bureaucracy is that there is always a loophole or an exception that can be manipulated. The only defense to that is public disapproval: and since the administration’s partisans can’t be bothered to watchdog their political faction, it’s up to us to do that…

Moe Lane

UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh has thoughts on this.

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