"WASHINGTON — A leading Democrat on the House Oversight Committee asked an inspector general on Tuesday to investigate how a former deputy chief of staff to President Trump received a multimillion-dollar contract to deliver respirators to a Native American community hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The request by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., signals that Democrats intend to aggressively oversee how the Trump administration is disbursing the trillions of dollars allocated by Congress for coronavirus relief measures for individuals, corporations and small businesses.
Connolly pressed Christi Grimm, principal deputy inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services and the sole witness at the briefing, to begin looking into how the former White House aide, Zachary Fuentes, came to receive a $3 million contract despite lacking expertise in medical device procurement.
Grimm did not commit to open an investigation.
“The no-bid contract awarded to Mr. Fuentes definitely has our full attention,” Connolly told Yahoo News after the hearing. Connolly, who heads the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, vowed that even if HHS did not investigate the Fuentes contract, congressional Democrats would do so themselves. During the hearing itself, he said there was “something suspicious” about the whole affair. "