My Monday column about Alaska Native Corporations has drawn some fire as “offensive.” In defense of my critics, I did include the phrase, “rent-an-eskimo,” which was a name given to the racket by critics on Capitol Hill who believed that in essence, big contractors, ruthless consultants, and well-connected lobbyists were using the Alaska natives as front groups in order to win overpriced no-bid government contracts.
But I’m beginning to suspect that officers of these corporations throw the “offensive” label at everyone who does some digging and reports on the corporations’ shady nature. Here, we get the Native American Contractors Association calling Claire McCaskill and Robert O’Harrow “offensive,” for their exposes on the ANCs.
Few addressed the obvious question: How could small, inexperienced native companies handle giant government contracts? The answer was to hire nonnative executives and workers and partner with established firms, including major Pentagon contractors.
Again, read O’Harrow’s reporting, and you’ll see that Alaska natives do benefit from these special favors, but you’ll probably also conclude that consultants, big defense contractors, and the Alaska Mafia of former congressional staffers benefit the most. And remember, now the ANCs are bankrolling Murkowski’s campaign.