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Report shows Whitefish Energy lobbying efforts following Puerto - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Report shows Whitefish Energy lobbying efforts following Puerto Rico investigation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new lobbying report shows that Whitefish Energy shelled out a six-figure payment for lobbying Congress after the firm came under fire for a contract to restore power in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Whitefish Energy raised eyebrows when the tiny company nailed a $300 million contract to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year. The contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority was eventually canceled, after questions were raised about the company's ability to handle the work, but also because the contract was awarded without competitive bidding.

Some critics also questioned the company's association with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, although the Whitefish Republican flatly denied having anything to do with the deal.

Now, The Center for Responsive Politics says a fourth-quarter lobbying report shows Whitefish Energy paid $150,000 to have the law firm Foley & Lardner defend them when Congress started looking into the contract.

The Center's website, opensecrets.org, says neither Whitefish Energy or the law firm offered comment on the revelation.

However, last fall, Whitefish Energy had already indicated it was hiring the firm to help "uphold" the company's reputation and help with "productive conversations" in Washington.

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