The swamp is undermining the Trump agenda on so many fronts. Right now, swamp creatures have provided the enemies of President Donald J. Trump a monopoly over government information technology (IT) in a way that will embolden Trump’s enemies. It is time for the president’s loyal appointees to shut off the spigot of government contracts to the same liberal billionaires who did everything they could to stop #MAGA.
In the IT sphere of government contracting, it turns out that elections do not have consequences, and neither do actions. There is no greater antagonist of the Trump Administration than Jeff Bezos. Mr. Bezos personally helped lead that court fight in Washington state against the President’s travel ban and has opposed virtually every important policy initiative proposed by the Trump Administration, from immigration to regulatory relief. And the #FakeNews Amazon Washington Post has been the single largest thorn in the Administration’s side as the president has attempted to move forward with his electorally-mandated agenda.
This begs the question of why the Trump Administration continues to enrich Amazon and Bezos by granting them a virtual monopoly on government Information Technology (IT). It all made sense a number of years ago when the liberal Obama Administration granted Amazon a monopoly for all Intelligence Community IT, because Bezos was one of Obama (and later Hillary Clinton’s) biggest supporters, and Amazon technology ran Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
That’s back when the Obama White House mandated that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies make every one of their technology procurements through an Amazon “marketplace” where Amazon could take a 30 percent cut off the top. During those eight years, all it took was a wave of the arm from one of Obama’s “fixer’s” and the government would grant Amazon a monopoly over technology platforms like cloud.gov.
What doesn’t make sense is why the Trump Administration is now set to extend that monopoly to the Department of Defense. Are Obama holdovers still allowed to funnel contracts to liberal allies and funders of the Democratic Party? Just last week, the Air Force granted Amazon a sole source award for the Air Force Materiel Command, on three days’ notice and with no competition. And it also begs the question why the DoD seems set to make one of the largest IT awards in history, again as a sole source monopoly granted to Amazon.
The answer lies in the old adage that “people are policy.” The fact is that the Trump Administration is still filled with Obama-era technology holdovers filling the ranks of GSA’s taxpayer-funded software development corporation “18f,” the White House’s taxpayer-funded technology consultancy, the United States Digital Service (USDS), and numerous digital services around the government. The Defense Innovation Board is Chaired by none other than Bezos’ co-conspirator and fellow Clinton supporter, Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google parent company Alphabet.
18f and USDS are staffed by Presidential Innovation Fellows, among others. These Presidential Innovation Fellows are placed by companies like Google and Amazon, and they are hopelessly conflicted. These “fellows” spend two years with the government and are not required to divest of their company stock or other perks. If you think this sounds just like Crony Capitalism, then you are right. This situation also allows the enemies of Trump to continue to get rewarded by Obama appointees who gleefully give away government contracts to the very people who spent top dollar to stop Donald J. Trump from taking office.
This is exactly the kind of industrial corporate welfare policy that brought us the Obama-era Solyndra scandal. These Obama people and policies have now burrowed into the White House and continue to operate at full force, granting Amazon monopoly after monopoly, running around to agency after agency with the imprimatur of the Executive Office of the President. Amazon Senior Vice President and former Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney must laugh himself to sleep each night.
It’s time for the corrupt, hopelessly-conflicted Obama technology swamp to go, because Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt have already made clear that they are supporting “anybody but Trump.” It’s time for OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Office of Innovation Director Jared Kushner to pull the plug on USDS and 18f before Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt use their government-granted monopoly rents to fund the Trump opposition. It’s time to stop back room, sole-source technology procurements because taxpayers will ultimately and inevitably lose.
Competition dies in darkness, and the enemies from within the Trump Administration have found a way to use government contracting to reward the very billionaire who will fund a Never-Trump candidate in 2020 for president.