House Committee to Vet Minority Contracting Program Following Investigation Into ‘Cherokee’ Claims

An undated photo shows William Wages, whose brother-in-law is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). He says he is one-eighth Cherokee. Wages' company, Vortex Construction, has won more than $7 million in federal contracts set aside for minorities. (Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

An undated photo shows William Wages, whose brother-in-law is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). He says he is one-eighth Cherokee. Wages' company, Vortex Construction, has won more than $7 million in federal contracts set aside for minorities. (Credit: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Eyeing stricter controls in the federal government’s minority contracting program, a House oversight panel on Tuesday is expected to address the findings of a Times investigation that showed that companies received more than $300 million in taxpayer-funded contracts based on unverified claims that their owners were Native American.

“This is certainly alarming,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-New York), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, who called for a hearing after The Times published its report in June.

Velazquez said the committee intends to root out “any form of waste, fraud and abuse” in the federal program.

The committee oversees the U.S. Small Business Administration, which certifies federal contractors as minority-owned. Its subcommittee on investigations will conduct the hearing.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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