Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waxman expands Blackwater Investigation

Rep. Henry Waxman is making a name for himself as the guy in Washington who keeps asking questions about ethical behavior, especially in the executive branch of government. One of his more recent targets seems to be Blackwater, a company that is either a loose committee of super patriots of a bunch on down on their luck Rambo's looking for a thrill while getting paid for it.

I am not sure how this will affect Dana, but we do know that he has been a big supporter of Eric Prince, Blackwater CEO. In fact, Prince once worked as a aide to Dana in Washington and I am sure that the connection is just too lucrative for it to have gone away.

The question here is whether the "contractors" who work for Blackwater are really that, independent contractors working for themselves, or whether they are employees. It would seem that Blackwater wants to have it both ways. They are contractors when it comes to the point that Blackwater may have to pay the same employment taxes that every other company has to pay. This is the question the Waxman is trying to answer. If they were to be considered employees, then Blackwater owes a bundle of money plus penalties for the Social Security taxes that they did not pay. If they are determined to NOT be employees, then I wonder how many of these well armed, happy go lucky chaps have been paying their self-employment taxes. It might be that a number of them have run afoul of the law.

Oh yeah, it was tax evasion that send Al Capone to Alcatraz, wasn't it.

An Associated Press story questioned the quality of people that Blackwater has been hiring anyway.
Private security contractor Blackwater USA has had to fire 122 people over the past three years for problems ranging from misusing weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct and violent behavior, according to a report released Monday by a congressional committee.

That total is roughly one-seventh of the work force that Blackwater has in Iraq, a ratio that raises questions about the quality of the people working for the company.

But, they are employees when it comes time to discuss the protection of their behavior in Iraq by the State Department.

So, Dana, just how close are you to your one time aide. Did he learn all the secrets of maneuvering through government contracts from his one time boss?

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