In response to a letter from Rep. Henry Waxman to Florida Governor Jeb Bush about his involvement in a no-bid selection of Carnival Cruise Lines, based in Florida, as supplier of three cruise ships to house refugees from Katrina, one of his spokespeople, Russell Schweiss, responded this way:
"The governor's involvement was merely facilitating contact with a corporate citizen of Florida that was seeking to provide immediate housing relief," Schweiss said. "Any assertion the governor had to do with any contracting negotiations or further action by FEMA is unfounded."
Don't you just love the use of "corporate citizen" in this context? It's like Jeb Bush had a whole bunch of "citizens" to choose from and he chose this one so this particular "citizen" could get in on the action, in the amount of $236 million of taxpayer money. The fact that this "citizen" has been a solid corporate donor to his campaign made little difference in his choice, of course. The fact that Carnival is a convicted corporate citizen criminal bore little influence on the decision either.
Carnival Cruise Lines has lied about its involvement in housing the Katrina victims being revenue neutral. In fact, during this time when normal paying passengers would be aboard, there would be an additional 800 employees that Carnival would normally be paying whom they are not paying while the refugees are aboard. So Carnival is actually making additional millions in profit. Did anyone think Carnival was doing this out of the goodness of its heart?
There were probably not many cruise lines that might have been able to benefit from the taxpayer money, but the least the government could have done is gotten some bids from other cruise lines, other so-called "corporate" citizens, on behalf of the American taxpayer, all of whom are also "citizens," last time I checked.