A company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy‘s family was given over $7 million in federal contracts based on bogus claims of Native American ancestry, according to a Los Angeles Times report published on Sunday.
According to the Times, the Small Business Administration accepted a claim from McCarthy’s brother in law that he is a Cherokee Indian, allowing the company to receive the minority contracts.
William Wages, the brother of McCarthy’s wife, claims he is one-eighth Cherokee, but that claim is questionable. The Times and others have done an examination of government and tribal records and found no support for the claim of Native American heritage. One of the experts disputing the claim from McCarthy’s brother in law is a highly regarded Cherokee genealogist.
The Times reported that McCarthy’s in-laws were awarded the contracts through a federal program that is intended to help minorities. Kevin McCarthy’s family is not composed of struggling minorities, and needs no help.
A company called Vortex Construction, which is partially owned by Wages, was awarded $7.6 million in federal contracts beginning in the year 2000, according to the Times.
The lucrative contracts were for construction projects at two Naval stations: the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the Naval Air Station Lemoore.
The Vortex Construction Company is co-owned by McCarthy’s mother-in-law. McCarthy’s wife, Judy, was a partner at the company during the 1990s. In addition, McCarthy’s father-in-law and sister-in-law are employed there. None of these people could be properly classified as “minorities” in need of help.
When the Small Business Administration accepted a claim from Wages that he is a Cherokee Indian it eliminated other minority companies from receiving the millions of dollars that they may have been entitled to receive. Thus McCarthy’s family’s fraudulent misrepresentation of their ancestry caused real financial harm to others, who were the intended beneficiaries of the government program.
William Wages is a member of, the Northern Cherokee Nation, which is not recognized as a legitimate tribe by California or by the federal government. It is considered fraudulent by leaders of recognized tribes, who say the organization is used by people who put forth bogus claims of Native American ancestry in order to improperly receive government benefits and access to special programs.
McCarthy has been majority leader of the House since 2014. He released a written statement saying that he didn’t help Wages qualify for the SBA program or earn federal contracts.
“I’m not aware of the program’s qualification process but have no reason to doubt that Bill and the SBA executed the process fairly and in accordance to program standards,” McCarthy said in his statement.
As of right now it does not look like Kevin McCarthy is destined for greater things. Because of this latest GOP scandal, and because of the Blue Wave, he will be lucky to hold onto the position that he currently has.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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