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Things I Don't Understand, Bob Dole Testimonial Edition

Bob Dole did not run a very good campaign in 1996, but he asked the best question: "Where's the outrage?"

It's a question I'd like to pose now. Here's the story, which I first saw reported yesterday on Instapundit:

A nearly $500-million no-bid contract for an experimental drug of dubious value was awarded to a company controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world richest men and a huge donor to Democratic causes, including Barack Obama.

Data points to absorb: 1. No-bid contract; 2. Huge Democratic donor is the beneficiary.

In other words, the Obama administration has just taken nearly half-a-billion of your money and handed it over to a company controlled by a chap who helped elect it.

That's not all. The Obama administration also said no one else could even compete for the dough: it all belonged to Ronnie.

Not only that, it's not even clear that the money is being used for any worthwhile purpose: it's for an experimental smallpox drug but no one knows whether it works.

The Los Angeles Times has details:

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga's drug costs about $255 per dose -- somewhat more than the $3 per dose for the vaccine the U.S. government already has stockpiled.

According to the LA Times, "The government's pursuit of Siga's product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?" But, that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.