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Report: Engineering Firm 'CH2M HILL' Cut Thousands of Jobs After Receiving $2 Billion in Stimulus

...and it received the stimulus money despite records of fraud and mismanagement.

For all those who said that the Solyndra revelation would just be the first of many, pat yourself on the back.

A new investigative report released by Accuracy in Media Wednesday, reveals that CH2M HILL, a Colorado-based consulting, engineering and construction firm, received nearly $2 Billion in stimulus funding despite a history of kickbacks, poor conduct and contaminating their own workers. While they are not in danger of suffering the same bankruptcy plight as Solyndra, CH2M has laid-off thousands of workers since receiving taxpayer stimulus. And like Solyndra, CH2M has donated thousands in campaigns finances to Democrats.

The report's author, Rusty Weiss, notes that CH2M has received $1.961 billion in contracts from the Recovery Act despite a history of violations and fraud, to name a few:

  • In 2004, the Energy Department withheld $300,000 from the firm for poor conduct.
  • Between 2005 and 2006, the company was fined nearly $400,000 total for the radiological contamination of workers.
  • A “major spill” occurred in 2007 that resulted in over $683,000 in both fines and settlements to local agencies.
  • Timecard fraud at the CH2M HILL Hanford Group  between January of 2002 and October of 2008, that was “widespread” and “routine."
  • False claims and paid kickbacks at the Hanford nuclear site between 2003 and 2005 led to a recent settlement in which CH2M HILL agreed to pay the federal government $1.5 million

How did a company with a track record like that become the recipient of billions of dollars from the federal government? Giving over $380,000 to Democrats during the 2009-2010 cycle and over $512,000 during 2007-2008, including $45, 337 to Barack Obama, may have had something to do with it. In addition to political contributions to individual politicians, the AIM study cites the Center for Responsive Politics that reports that CH2M was lobbying their special interests via $455,000 worth of itemized expenditures in 2010.

As stimulus funding has begun to dry up, CH2M is proving that the "green" jobs funded by the taxpayer are in fact unsustainable. AIM reports:

"Reports of staff reductions at CH2M began in January when KEPR-TV announced that 1,350 layoffs were coming in September due to the end of stimulus funding. The company had to organize a job fair for those affected by these layoffs, as well as an additional 1,000 laid off men and women at the contractor’s Hanford site. Hanford started the year with 12,000 workers but lost 2,000 positions nine months later."

Aside from raising similar questions about the way the DOE is delving out taxpayer dollars, CH2M was directly involved in the plundering of a $535 million loan to Solyndra. $9.6 million of that loan given to CH2M HILL to design Solyndra's solar manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. Weiss writes;

"With millions of dollars having been secured, CH2M clearly outdid themselves on the Solyndra project, building a facility the likes that had never been seen before in the heart of Silicon Valley.  The facility covers 300,000 square feet, ran a price tag of $733 million, and was equated by some to the Taj Mahal."

To boot, CH2M reportedly has ties with "Green Energy Czar" Van Jones, who sat on the Apollo Alliance board that helped write the stimulus. This is the same Apollo Alliance that Glenn Beck said "aspires to destroy the U.S. economy by having the federal government fund green jobs scams."

Jones has received recognition at the Aspen Institute award ceremony which is co-sponsored by CH2M, been a keynote speaker at events co-sponsored by CH2M, and served on the San Francisco Clean Tech Advisory Council with Jill Sideman of CH2M.

See the Accuracy in Media full report for the breakdown of CH2M Hill's history of problems, ties to Democrats and lobbying, as well as other investigative reports.

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