As border conditions worsen, massive contract appears to be funneled to Democrat insiders
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.), along with Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform and House Homeland Security Committees, wrote U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra regarding a “massive, sole source contract” the Department of Homeland Security awarded to Family Endeavors, Inc. to help manage the surge of unaccompanied minors at the border. The questionable contract was awarded to Family Endeavors, Inc. after a member of the Biden-Harris Transition team started working there, and it amounts to more than 12 times the annual budget of the nonprofit.
“President Biden’s open borders policies created the crisis at our southern border and now his administration appears to be exploiting it by funneling a massive, no-bid contract to a nonprofit linked to their transition team. The Biden Border Crisis is encouraging human smuggling and illegal immigration, directly endangering the lives of families and children. President Biden and Vice President Harris haven’t spent a second at the border, but they are spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to reward political allies. This is wrong, and Secretary Becerra needs to provide information to the American people about this suspicious contract,” said Ranking Member Comer.
“As the crisis at the border continues to grow increasingly worse by the day, the Biden Administration fails to provide any confidence in its ability to manage this disorder. The questionable decision to award a massive, no-bid contract to the nonprofit Endeavors raises many questions including how an organization with no experience working with ICE could win a non-compete contract. Not only did ICE choose not to conduct an open competitive process in awarding the contract, but there have been far too many concerning reports of alleged conflicts of interest between Endeavor’s leadership and the Biden Administration. There are many questions that need to be answered and the American people deserve transparency,” said Ranking Member John Katko.
The Oversight and Homeland Security Republican lawmakers are requesting all documentation and communications from HHS regarding this dubious sole source contract awarded to Family Endeavors be provided to the committees by May 5, 2021.
The letter is available here and below.
April 21, 2021
The Honorable Xavier Becerra
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Secretary Becerra:
The Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Homeland Security Republicans are conducting oversight of a massive, sole source contract your Department recently awarded on March 17, 2021 to nonprofit Family Endeavors, Inc. Under the contract, the U.S. government has already obligated $255.2 million, with a potential award amount of $529.5 million for the purpose of “emergency intake site and wrap around care services in support of the [Office of Refugee Resettlement] Unaccompanied Children’s Program” in Pecos, TX.
This is the second sizeable government contract Family Endeavors has received in recent weeks without going through fair and open competition. The most recent contract, potentially valued at $529.5 million, is more than twelve times Family Endeavors’ most recent annual budget, raising questions about its ability to effectively perform the contract and meet the contract requirements. Further, there are other, likely more experienced contractors that would also be able to perform the work, but due to the sole source award, they will not get a chance at the opportunity.
Most concerning, it appears that Family Endeavors won these contracts just months after hiring Andrew Lorenzen-Strait as Senior Director for Migrant Services and Federal Affairs. Mr. Lorenzen-Strait served on the Biden-Harris transition team, and is a former official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
These factors: the size of the contracts awarded to Family Endeavors, the manner in which they were awarded, that firm’s lack of equivalent experience, the timing of Mr. Lorenzen-Straight’s hiring, and his connections to the Biden administration combine to raise serious concerns of potential impropriety.
To assist the Republicans on the Committees in conducting important oversight of this dubious sole source award to an insider, please provide the following information no later than May 5, 2021 for the time period January 20, 2021 to the present:
- A complete copy of the sole source contract awarded to Family Endeavors as referenced above;
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the contract award to Family Endeavors referenced above, including but not limited to any communications with Family Endeavors’ employees, personnel, executives, agents, affiliates, or representatives;
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the need for the contracted services and investigations of any potential vendors for those services including but not limited to Family Endeavors;
- Any and all drafts including the final draft of the justification and approval document required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation related to the sole source contracts to Family Endeavors; and
- All documents and communications between and among administration officials and/or U.S. government employees and Mr. Lorenz-Strait regarding the contract(s) between Family Endeavors and HHS.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue. To make arrangements to deliver documents or ask any related follow-up questions, please contact Committee on Oversight and Reform Republican Staff at (202) 225-5074 and Committee on Homeland Security at (202) 503-6188.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this inquiry.
Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky)
Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.)
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.)
Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas)
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas)
Rep. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.)
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.)
Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.)
Rep. Diana Harshberger (R-Tenn.)
Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.)
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.)
Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.)
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)
Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa)
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.)
Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-N.J.)