[Ed. – Ugly]
A company owned and run by South Carolina’s Democratic candidate for governor was blacklisted as a contractor for the Department of Veterans Affairs following allegations that he was selling his veteran status to corporations so they could tap into federal contracting dollars intended to help disabled vets.
James Smith works as a state legislator and lawyer, and also runs the Congaree Group, which has received millions of dollars in federal government contracts. The company operates out of Smith’s law firm suite, and he once told the VA he was its only employee.
On paper, the company has done everything from manufacturing pharmaceuticals to mopping floors and from parking cars to conducting advanced mathematical analysis.
On May 17, VA officials arrived for a surprise inspection, VA Deputy Assistant Secretary James Hutton told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The purpose was to find out if Smith was running a middleman company used to win lucrative federal contracts earmarked for disabled veterans, then passing all the work off to non-veteran companies in exchange for a cut for himself. Such so-called rent-a-vet scams are forbidden.