GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy Under Scrutiny for In-Laws’ Awards of Gov’t Contracts Due to Dubious Claim of Being ‘Native American’

by on November 26, 2018 · 0 comments

in California

Congressman Kevin McCarthy represents California’s 23rd district, up north in Kern County. He’s been there since 2006 and was just recently elected the Republican’s Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. So, for a short time – the lame-duck post-Midterms period – he’ll be the top guy in the House.

But there’s been a bubbling controversy about McCarthy since mid-October when reports first surfaced that his brother-in-law won over $7 million in federal contracts on a dubious claim that he is Native American. It turns out McCarthy’s in-laws own a company called Vortex Construction that has received a total of $7.6 million in no-bid and other prime federal contracts since 2000, prime contracts, awarded through a federal program designed to help disadvantaged minorities.

Vortex – whose principal owner is William Wages, the brother of McCarthy’s wife, Judy –  was awarded these no-bid contracts, after the Small Business Administration accepted Wage’s claim that he is a Cherokee Indian. These are federal contracts set aside for economically and socially disadvantaged members of minority groups,

The contracts were mostly for construction projects at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in McCarthy’s Bakersfield-based district, and the Naval Air Station Lemoore in nearby Kings County.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Wages says he is one-eighth Cherokee. An examination of government and tribal records by The Times and a leading Cherokee genealogist casts doubt on that claim, however. He is a member of a group called the Northern Cherokee Nation, which has no federal or state recognition as a legitimate tribe. It is considered a fraud by leaders of tribes that have federal recognition.

Of course, McCarthy has denied that he and his bro-in-law ever discussed business related to Vortex. Yet, the company’s best years for contracts just happen to coincide with McCarthy’s first two years in Congress — 2006 to 2008.

This is a big deal. Ethical watchdogs have called on the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the rep of the 23rd district had ever exerted any influence over the contract awards and to investigate whether McCarthy knew about his brother-in-law’s participation in the minority contracting program.

This story needs to get out. The LA Times broke it, but it doesn’t appear the San Diego Union-Tribune even covered it.

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