House committee members on Friday chastised officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for awarding millions of dollars in no-bid contracts and cultivating a culture that bred a widespread disregard for ethics and rules.
In his opening remarks, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) called Friday’s hearing a “sad day for metro Washington and also a sad day for advocates for improving and expanding and conducting air transportation projects in the nation’s capital and surrounding areas.”
“Unfortunately the … airports authority is the poster child for some of the corrupt practices that need to be brought to a halt,” Mica said.
The hearing is the outgrowth of a recently released federal inspector general’s report that cited numerous instances of ethical breaches, including instances of staff accepting gifts from contractors, hiring friends and family and spending lavishly on travel and entertainment.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) a member of the committee, noted during the hearing that she had introduced a bill Thursday to require MWAA to follow the same contracting standards used by most federal agencies.
“There is no reason why MWAA should use a different standard than other federal agencies,” Norton said.