Legislator seeks details on DHS limousine service contract

A senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee called a meeting late Tuesday with the Homeland Security Department's chief procurement officer to demand answers on whether contracts were improperly awarded to a limousine service that is under federal investigation for possibly providing prostitutes to public officials.

House Homeland Security Management Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said he wanted Homeland Security procurement chief Elaine Duke to explain details of contracts to Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc., of Arlington, Va.

The FBI is investigating whether military contractors linked to former Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham arranged for the company to provide prostitutes for him and other lawmakers. Cunningham pleaded guilty last fall to taking $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors.

Shirlington was awarded a five-year, $21.2 million contact last year to drive Homeland Security employees and officials around Washington. The company had previously received a $3.8 million contact in 2004.

"There didn't seem to be a lot of competition for a $21 million contract. Now that may not be a big contract in Washington, D.C., but in east Alabama it's a pretty good size," Rogers said. "How did this contract come about? Why [were] there no security investigations done? Who else was competing for this?"

He added: "My understanding is that some of these limo services shuttle around DHS officials who are high ranking. I want to know if Shirlington or this particular contract had any of those responsibilities. Because if it did, then obviously there should have been some background checks of some kind."

House Homeland Security ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee ranking member Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., Monday asked the Homeland Security Department inspector general to review the contact. Rogers said he planned to talk to Thompson late Tuesday about the matter.

Members of the full committee also plan to discuss the contract at a previously scheduled May 18 hearing on contracts, hiring processes and security clearances.

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