UPDATE — Response from Liberty University: In a press release sent to TheBlaze, Freedom Aviation President Andrew Wallace said that the contract with the Department of Defense "has been in place for over 20 years" and that the "term of the contract signed in June 2017 began in November of 2016 and was merely a renewal of the pre-existing contract." He also said that the largest sale of fuel from the company to the DOD occurred during the Obama administration, a point echoed by Liberty University Vice President Scott Lamb when he spoke with TheBlaze about this topic.
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The federal government has signed a contract to purchase nearly $900,000 in jet fuel from Liberty University, an evangelical school located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and run by one of the president's most vocal supporters.
What are the details?
The contract, which was first reported by the Daily Beast's Lachlan Markay, is worth $889,087. It was signed on May 9, 2017. Four days later, Trump would give the commencement address at Liberty. The contract goes through March 30, 2021.
The Department of Defense contract is with Freedom Aviation, a company owned by the school, in return for "Liquid Propellants and Fuels, Petroleum Base." The company's website does advertise fuel sales.
The school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., has been an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump. On Jan. 1, he told the Washington Post that he "can't imagine [Trump] doing anything that's not good for the country. Trump spoke at the school as part of his presidential campaign on Jan. 18, 2016.
According to the Daily Beast, the DOD's Defense Logistics Agency hired Freedom Aviation after it "submitted the only offer" to refuel DOD planes at Lynchburg's airport. A spokesman for the agency told the Daily Beast that the fuel costs offered by Freedom Aviation were "determined fair and reasonable in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and was in line with prices at other airports in the region."
The spokesman also said that the agency had granted contracts to Freedom Aviation as far back as the 1990s, although the company was then going by the name Aviation Resources.
In addition to working with Liberty's flight school, Freedom Aviation also charters private flights.The Trump campaign utilized Freedom Aviation for some of its travel, and paid the company $19,000 early in 2016 shortly after Falwell gave his endorsement.
TheBlaze has reached out to Liberty University for comment.