On October 24, 2017, news broke that a $300 million contract to restore electrical power in Puerto Rico had been awarded to Whitefish Energy, a small Montana-based company with only two full-time employees.
The company is based in Whitefish, Montana – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown. Despite attempts by the Interior Department (DOI) to downplay any relationship between the two, reports indicated that Zinke knew Whitefish Energy’s CEO, Andy Techmanski, and that Zinke’s son had previously worked for one of Techmanski’s companies. Additional reporting indicated that one of Whitefish Energy’s primary investors donated almost $100,000 to support President Trump’s campaign.
With much of Puerto Rico still without power weeks after the hurricane hit, this award raises serious questions about whether the Trump administration is doling out critical contracts to their friends and biggest donors – rather than those best equipped for the job. American Oversight is investigating to determine why this little-known company was awarded such a lucrative contract.