Congresswoman calls for investigation of federal contract to FLDS-linked company

Published April 29, 2008 1:16 pm
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Posted: 1:17 PM- WASHINGTON - A Texas congresswoman wants the House Armed Services Committee to look into a federal contract awarded to a company linked to the polygamous sect raided earlier this month and under fire for alleged child abuse.

Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican from Fort Worth, wrote to committee chairman Ike Skelton and ranking GOP member Duncan Hunter asking for a hearing to look at the vetting process for Department of Defense contracts after news surfaced that one worth $1.2 million was awarded to New Era Manufacturing, a company formerly based in Hildale, Utah.

Granger says that according to news reports, the company is affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the "same church sect" raided by Texas authorities after allegations of physical abuse.

"As a Member of Congress, I am concerned that federal tax dollars may have been misused to fund this sect's illegal activities," Granger wrote in a letter earlier this month.

New Era Manufacturing was formerly called Western Precision, which moved from Utah to Nevada, and which the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported employed FLDS followers at little or no pay. The company supplies wheel and brake components for military aircraft.

"While religious affiliation should certainly not be a determining factor, [the Department of Defense] has a responsibility to closely scrutinize any company under consideration before contracts are awarded," Granger said. "I am concerned that such scrutiny did not occur in this case, and that funds from this company may have been used to support the FLDS church's activities."

The committee has not yet responded to Granger's request.

tburr@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">tburr@sltrib.com

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