Report: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Family Used Dubious Indian Heritage to Snag Federal Contracts

It seems that Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (D-MA) isn’t the only huckster in Congress who faked Native American heritage for personal benefit. It is being reported that the family of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pulled a similar scam to secure lucrative federal construction contracts.

McCarthy’s in-laws received $7 million in no-bid contracts and the rights to build at U.S. military bases and other government facilities in the state of California based on their family’s supposed Indian heritage. McCarthy’s brother-in-law made the claim, and the company Vortex Construction benefited greatly from his claim.

These contracts primarily included construction projects at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake located in McCarthy’s Congressional district, and the nearby Naval Air Station Lemoore as well. McCarthy’s family was deemed eligible for the projects under a federal program meant to allocate contracts for disadvantaged minorities.

The Small Business Administration believed William Wages, who is the brother of McCarthy’s wife, Judy, when he told them that he is 1/8th Cherokee. However, a close examination of the records show that Wages’ claim of Indian heritage is dubious at best.

The Los Angeles Times explains that the McCarthy family’s allegations do not hold up to scrutiny:

Wages says he is one-eighth Cherokee. An examination of government and tribal records by The Times and a leading Cherokee genealogist casts doubt on that claim, however. He is a member of a group called the Northern Cherokee Nation, which has no federal or state recognition as a legitimate tribe. It is considered a fraud by leaders of tribes that have federal recognition.

Vortex was awarded more than $4 million in minority set-aside contracts for projects at China Lake. McCarthy has been a staunch advocate in Congress for funding and staffing for China Lake, the Navy’s largest property at more than 1.1 million acres, and spearheaded successful efforts to expand its borders.

McCarthy is no ordinary member of Congress, but one of the most powerful elected officials in California and on the national stage. The contracts obtained by Wages’ company have prompted questions about whether he improperly benefited from being McCarthy’s brother-in-law.

The Times investigation has found no evidence that McCarthy did anything to steer contracts to the company. Both Wages and McCarthy said they have never discussed Vortex’s work with each other.

In an interview at the Vortex office, Wages said he did nothing wrong and followed the SBA’s rules in getting Vortex certified for the minority contracting program. He said he submitted a membership card from the Northern Cherokee Nation — then known as the Northern Cherokee Nation of Missouri and Arkansas — to qualify. He said he would be “very surprised” to learn he is not of Cherokee descent.

Wages’ attorney, Jason Torchinsky, said, “Look, the SBA approved the application.”

When presented with The Times’ findings, experts in government ethics said the sheer volume of federal work the company received in and near McCarthy’s district, in addition to Wages’ disputed claim to be Native American that allowed him to avoid competitive bidding, warranted more scrutiny.

It appears that the Democrats have not completely cornered the market on affirmative action scams. McCarthy, who has been a “Young Gun” darling of the Republican Party establishment for years, can perhaps be considered the Fauxcahontas of the GOP because of this shameful news.

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