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Pentagon Watchdog to Review Border-Wall Contract Awarded to Company Repeatedly Praised by Trump

A resident walks by a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, April 5, 2016. (Jorge Duenes/Reuters)

Following a request from Democratic lawmakers, the Pentagon’s watchdog will audit a recent Army Corps of Engineers decision to award a $400 million border-wall contract to a North Dakota company that was repeatedly praised by President Trump.

According to NBC News, which reviewed a copy of the letter sent from the Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general to the House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), the audit has been initiated and will be formally announced soon.

Thompson sent a letter to the DoD on December 4 requesting an audit over “concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence.” On December 2, the DoD announced that North-Dakota-based firm Fisher Sand and Gravel won the $400 million contract to build a 31-mile wall in Arizona’s Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge over the next year.

In a statement to National Review following the decision, the company said it looked forward “to the opportunity to work with the Army Corps of Engineers on this important project.”

“We are excited to show our high quality work . . . while helping to secure our southern border,” Fisher Industries’ statement read.

Company chief executive Tommy Fisher is a GOP donor and has claimed during appearances on Fox News that the company can build the border wall faster than the Army Corps of Engineers.

Trump has reportedly pushed since May for the Defense Department to accept Fisher’s bid, and allegedly brought up the company in several conversations with Department of Homeland Security officials as well as Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Thompson said Thursday he was pleased with the decision to audit the contract.

“Given the president’s multiple endorsements of this company and the amount of taxpayer money at stake, I remain concerned about the possibility of inappropriate influence,” he said.

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