May 3, 2004

Campbell Probe Sought

By Amy Keller and Damon Chappie

A former spokesman for the White House drug czar asked the Justice Department to investigate the awarding of a $1.5 million no-bid contract sought by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo).

Robert Weiner, who worked for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 1995 to 2001, has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to look into whether a top official on the staff was forced out after he objected to the awarding of the contract.

The Denver Post reported last month that Campbell, who had served on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee funding ONDCP, had twice pressed in letters for a no-bid contract to go to an Oregon-based computer company. That firm had hired a top Denver-based lobbying shop with close ties to Campbell that contributed heavily to his re-election campaign.

Al Brandenstein, director of the White House Counterdrug Technology Center, objected to the contract, calling it “improper.” He was demoted and retired from his position last month.