NEW: Top Loeffler Donor’s Firm Gets Sweetheart “No-Bid” Deal Worth Millions from State Government on COVID Relief

September 15, 2020

A major “‘politically connected firm” with ties to Loeffler has received over $40 million from state for coronavirus relief after securing no-bid contract

ATLANTA — A new report from Georgia Health News reveals that a “politically connected” Georgia firm with ties to both Senator Kelly Loeffler and her top political patron Governor* Brian Kemp has received over $40 million from the state government for coronavirus relief after being awarded a no-bid contract in March.

The firm’s chairman and CEO Richard Jackson alongside “his companies, employees and immediate family members” has given around $1 million to mostly Republican candidates since 2010 — including a recent donation to Loeffler’s campaign from Jackson himself.

One Georgia ethics watchdog said the no-bid deal with a major Republican campaign donor “reeks of a payoff,” pointing out that six months after the crisis began, the state still has not opened up the process to allow other companies to make a bid — “the type of thing that erodes public trust in governance.”

But ethical scandals and potential conflicts of interest are nothing new for Loeffler. In addition to her infamous coronavirus stock trading, Loeffler has been described as “a walking conflict of interest thanks to her ties to her old firm ICE whose regulator she now oversees in Congress while sitting on a committee that serves as “an overseer of the overseers of the company that made her rich.”

“Once again, Senator Kelly Loeffler has found herself caught up in yet another ethical scandal as she continues to put herself and her campaign first in a crisis,” said Alex Floyd, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Conflicts of interest are nothing new to Loeffler, but even in the middle of a pandemic, one of her major donors is still involved in a situation that ‘reeks of a payoff’ with coronavirus relief funds while Georgia families are suffering.”

Read more about the “politically connected” firm that’s gotten millions from Georgia:

Georgia Health News: Politically connected firm earning millions in state COVID contract

  • A health care staffing company with strong political connections has been paid more than $40 million by the state of Georgia to supply medical workers to fight COVID-19.
  • The company, after getting a no-bid contract, has supplied medical staff, from doctors to nurses to respiratory therapists, to more than 50 hospitals and 80 nursing homes across Georgia over the course of the pandemic, through its subsidiary, HWL.
  • Critics of the HWL deal suggest that Jackson’s company was tapped to supply temp medical workers because of his political ties. Rick Jackson has been a longtime financial contributor to Georgia Republican candidates.
  • Rick Jackson, his companies, employees and immediate family members gave roughly $1 million directly to candidates (mostly Republicans) or their PACs since 2010, a GHN analysis has found.
  • The politicians who received donations include Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. They also include such past officeholders as Nathan Deal, who was governor from 2011 to 2019, and Casey Cagle, who was lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2019.
  • Jackson Healthcare also gave $100,000 in 2018 to the Georgia Republican Party, which has controlled the General Assembly and most statewide elective offices since the early 2000s.
  • William Perry, executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdog, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes transparency and good governance, said the situation “reeks of a payoff to a major donor.”
  • “There’s reason to give no-bid emergency contracts when you make decisions in just days and weeks,” Perry said. “Six months into COVID-19, not opening up the opportunity for other companies to bid on and show their capability for providing the same services is the type of thing that erodes public trust in governance.”
  • State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat who reviewed HWL’s contract, told GHN that no-bid contracts are in some cases necessary during an emergency declaration, especially the typical ones that last for a short time after a natural disaster. But she said the prolonged nature of the pandemic emergency should not give one company with political ties a lucrative contract without a specified end date.

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