Granger Calls for Hearing on Government Funds Used for Polygamist Sect

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Kay Granger, Vice Chair of the Republican Conference, sent a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton and Ranking Member Duncan Hunter yesterday evening requesting a hearing be held with the Department of Defense regarding the Department’s vetting process for contracts. According to news reports this week, at least one company affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the same church sect whose Texas compound was raided on Friday, April 4, after reports of physical abuse, was the recipient of federal contracts that went to fund the church’s activities. Granger, who sits on the Defense, Homeland Security and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittees, is ultimately concerned that federal tax dollars may have been misused to fund the sect’s illegal activities.
The following is the text of the letter Granger sent to the House Armed Services Committee:
April 16, 2008
The Honorable Ike Skelton                                 The Honorable Duncan Hunter
Chairman                                                          Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services                           Committee on Armed Services
2120 Rayburn Building                                       2120 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC  20510                                     Washington, DC  20510
Dear Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member Hunter:
Less than two weeks ago, the media revealed troubling events occurring at a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in West Texas.  Like you, I was very disturbed to learn of the allegations of polygamy and child abuse, and I hope that law enforcement officials will act quickly to investigate and resolve this situation.  In addition to these allegations, it has been reported that at least one company affiliated with the FLDS church was the recipient of federal loans and contracts.  As a Member of Congress, I am concerned that federal tax dollars may have been misused to fund this sect’s illegal activities.
New Era Manufacturing, a company that was formerly named Western Precision, Inc., is a Nevada-based supplier of wheel and brake components for military aircraft.  New Era’s President and CEO is a known associate of the polygamist FLDS leader and convicted rapist Warren Jeffs.  As Jack Douglas first reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, FLDS church members were forced to work with little or no pay for Western Precision, Inc.
It has been reported that the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded $1.2 million in sole source contracts to New Era Manufacturing.  While religious affiliation should certainly not be a determining factor, DoD has a responsibility to closely scrutinize any company under consideration before contracts are awarded.  I am concerned that such scrutiny did not occur in this case, and that funds from this company may have been used to support the FLDS church’s activities.
I respectfully request that the House Armed Services Committee hold a hearing to investigate this matter.  DoD officials should explain the vetting process used to examine prospective contract recipients in general, and the New Era Manufacturing contract in particular.
I look forward to your response, and hope that you will schedule this critical oversight hearing promptly.
Kay Granger
Member of Congress