Obama Administration May Have Awarded Illegal Contract for ‘Let’s Move’


The Obama administration may have violated federal contracting rules by awarding “a plum no-bid contract for $100,000” contract to the firm that created the logo for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, according to Judicial Watch.

The firm Shepardson, Stern, & Kaminsky (SS+K) was “illegally awarded” the contract by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Judicial Watch, which first learned about the contract after examining government documents.

Judicial Watch reported about the contract on its blog:

The arrangement violates federal contracting rules and is even acknowledged by federal officials as an “unauthorized commitment,” the records obtained by JW show. As a result the agency that illegally awarded the contract, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), prepared a “request for ratification of an unauthorized commitment” to legitimize the expenditure. The justification provided to JW as part of the records is that the program was too important and time-sensitive for the official who awarded the no-bid deal to research the rules.

In all, JW obtained 44 pages of documents from the USDA, the agency largely in charge of distributing funds for the First Lady’s $4.5 billion measure (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) to revolutionize the inner-city diet and conquer childhood obesity. Among the documents is a scathing electronic mail exchange between the USDA Deputy Director (Jodey Edwards) in the Office of Procurement & Property Management and an agency administrative officer named Yvette Ward. Edwards asks “What did we get for our money … any deliverable? I know this is an unauthorized commitment: however the contractor still must provide evidence of what is being paid for …”

The firm that raked in the cash is Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky (SS+K), which had previously served as the official agency for Obama for America’s youth initiatives in both 2008 and 2012. SS+K also received a sweet $2 million deal from the Obama Department of Education for the “TEACH” teacher recruitment campaign in 2010. Before the Obama administration started doling out money to the little-known firm, it had landed only one government contract—awarded in 2002 by the Department of Defense—worth $50,000.