Earlier this month, Representative Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to the DoD-OIG (Office of Inspector General) requesting a review of a $400 million contract awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to Fisher Sand and Gravel Company to design and build border infrastructure in Arizona. The contract was awarded on December 2, 2019 and the Chairman's request came two days later on December 4th.
The Chairman's letter noted that the President had personally repeatedly urged the Corps to award construction contracts to Fisher and that one of his key aides leading border construction projects also supported Fisher's selection. However, up until the most recent selection, Fisher had not received any of the $2.5 billion in border wall construction projects because its proposals "did not meet the operational requirements of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its prototype project came in late and over budget. The Chairman's letter went on to note that the President's actions raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence on the Corps' contracting decisions.
The OIG, acknowledged the request on December 12th, indicating that it has "decided to initiate an audit of the solicitation and award of this contract" to determine whether the Corps of Engineers made the award in accordance with federal procurement law and regulations. Elsewhere, the OIG noted that it had significant experience evaluating the award of DoD contract and that it would conduct a full audit of the award of this particular contract.
For his part, Mr. Fisher, the President and CEO of Fisher Sand and Gravel "... hopes the DoD sees the decision came down to two things including the value and technical aspect of the proposed project". He also added: "I have no relationship with the President".