Native Hawaiians and Fed Contracting Preferences

If you have a strong stomach for pork and no family history of high blood pressure, I highly recommend the latest article in Hawaii Reporter on federal contract preferences for Native Hawaiian companies. If you live in a cave without access to television or radio (which might make me wonder how you’re reading this blog), you’ll even be surprised to see that Senator Inouye figures heavily in the awarding of lucrative federal contracts to Native Hawaiian-owned businesses.  If nothing else, the article demonstrates that the stereotype of Native Hawaiian businesses as struggling shoestring operations desperately in need of help is rather ludicrous.  Unless one is so fortunate as to consider $738 million over ten years mere pocket change.  Some highlights from the article:

A handful of Native Hawaiian-owned companies used federal contracting preferences authored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HI, to land some $500 million in non-bid or reduced competition government work since 2005, according to federal purchasing records.

Officials, employees and partners of many of the same companies donated nearly $100,000 during the same period to the Inouye election campaign and $100,000 more to other members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, files of the Federal Election Commission show.

. . . .

One of the most successful local companies to land federal contracts is Akimeka Technologies, LLC.

From 2005 to 2010, Akimeka received some $67 million in federal contracts, according to two U.S. government procurement websites.

The company that changed its name this year to Ke’aki Technologies (http://www.keakitech.com/) is now part of a joint business venture called Manu Kai.

Last year, Manu Kai received a $738 million, 10-year contract award from the U.S. Navy to support base operations at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

. . . .

Officers and employees of Akimeka/Ke’aki donated $57,500 since 2005 to the political campaigns of Inouye and other prominent Hawaii Democratic politicians, including former Congressman and now-Governor Neil Abercrombie and Congresswoman-elect Colleen Hanabusa.

. . . .

None of the NHO subsidiaries operating here that have received federal contracts is willing to discuss in detail the amount of money they have dedicated to improving the lives of Native Hawaiians.  Few even responded to requests for such information.

David Cooper, president of The Hana Group, Inc. http://www.thehanagroup.com and HBC Management Services, Inc., http://www.thehanagroup.com/ two NHO subsidiaries that have received some $53 million in federal contracts since 2005, said the companies provide financial support to their non-profit parent, Pacific American Foundation.

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