FROM BLACKBOXVOTING, about Kiewit, who works with TxDOT, Zachry and others:
I became interested in Kiewit because if anything is less appropriate than Chuck Hagel’s ties to ES&S, it would be a Kiewit relationship of any kind to any voting-system vendor. So who is Kiewit? Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and its subsidiaries have been tied to a string of bid-rigging cases in as many as 11 states and two countries.
In an antitrust case that involved charges of bid-rigging in New Orleans, Kiewit pleaded no contest and paid $100,000 in fines and $300,000 in a civil settlement. In South Dakota, a Kiewit subsidiary pleaded guilty to bid-rigging on road contracts and paid a fine of $350,000. In Kansas, a Kiewit subsidiary was found guilty of bid-rigging and mail fraud on a federal highway project. The firm was fined $900,000 and a company official was sentenced to a year in jail. A Kiewit subsidiary paid $1.8 million for bid-rigging on a state highway project in Nebraska, and a Kiewit vice president was jailed.
This free internet version is available at www.BlackBoxVoting.org The Army Corps of Engineers at one point decided to bar Kiewit from bidding on all federal projects but later changed its mind. Kiewit builds munitions plants and military airstrips.
Does Kiewit have a political agenda? Absolutely. Kiewit’s Jerry Pfeffer has spoken before Congress to ask for more privatization: “Kiewit, based in Omaha, built more lane-miles of the Interstate Highway System than any other contractor,” he said. “…We’re active in toll roads, airports and water facilities …”
Pfeffer, advocating privatization of the highway system, has stated glibly that “American motorists will gladly pay market prices to avoid congestion.”
He goes on to suggest to Congress that Kiewit should get special tax treatment. Kiewit also owns CalEnergy Corp., has been involved with Level 3 Communications and is a quiet giant in telecommunications; underneath its highways, Kiewit lays fiber-optic cable and has been outfitting our roads with video surveillance cameras since 1993.
When the state of Oklahoma forbade Kiewit to bid anymore, Kiewit set up a different company called Gilbert Southern Corp. According to The Sunday Oklahoman, “Gilbert Southern Corp. recently submitted a sworn affidavit to the transportation department saying it had no parent company, affiliate firms or subsidiaries.”
But Kiewit owned Gilbert Southern Corp. lock, stock and barrel. When the state of Oklahoma found out, it yanked the contracts. In another obfuscation, Peter Kiewit & Sons took contracts in Washington State under the guise of a minority-owned firm. The government thought it was giving contracts to a company owned by African-American women; actually, it was a bunch of white guys in Nebraska. Kiewit paid more than $700,000 in fines while denying liability or wrongdoing.
Kiewit’s corporate papers indicate that investigations and litigation are normal, saying there are “numerous” lawsuits. This is a handy thing to know: Apparently you can skip disclosure of pending litigation, if there’s a lot of it.
This example illustrates why voting-machine vendors should be required to provide full disclosure on owners, parent companies, stockholders and key personnel. Kiewit has connections with both ES&S parent companies and has a track record of hiding ownership
We should require enough disclosure so that we can at least ask informed questions next time we buy voting machines. In 1997, the company that had called itself American Information
Systems bought elections-industry giant BRC and changed its name to Election Systems and Software. The Securities and Exchange Commission objected on antitrust grounds, and an odd little deal was cooked up in which the assets of BRC were shared between two voting companies: ES&S and Sequoia.