Questionable $300M Puerto Rico Contract for Zinke-Linked Company

American Oversight is investigating the decision to award a $300 million dollar contract to restore power in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria to a small company with potential ties to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

What We’re Seeking:

  • Communications between senior DOI officials and Whitefish Energy Holdings, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), or the Puerto Rico Oversight Board
  • Communications between Secretary Zinke and the governor of Puerto Rico relating to Hurricane Maria or the electric grid issues.
  • Communications within DOI, DOE, FEMA, or the Army Corps that reference Whitefish Energy, Puerto Rico, or related issues or companies.

Background:

On October 24, 2017, news broke that a $300 million dollar 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.