- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2005

The Bush administration supports racial profiling — as long as it lines the pockets of the right people.

Bean-counting government bureaucrats are free to take race, ethnicity and gender into account when doling out public funds to non-white-male contractors.

But God help law enforcement officers, air marshals and border agents who try to use those same factors to combat terrorism and protect American lives.

What Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta stubbornly refused to do to enhance homeland security, he’ll gladly keep doing under the guise of boosting politically correct “diversity.” This week, Mr. Mineta announced appointment of Roger Minami to head DOT’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, which “helps small, minority owned, women owned and other disadvantaged businesses compete for DOT and DOT-assisted contracts and grants.” Mr. Mineta says Mr. Minami “brings to DOT a strong recognition of the potential of small businesses to help us build a safer, more efficient and more reliable transportation system.”

What are Mr. Minami’s qualifications to determine which contractors will make our highways, airports and mass transit safe, efficient and reliable? He comes from a family farming background, has a degree in communications, was “active in a number of Japanese-American charitable and community-based groups,” and is the first Asian-American in his new position. The Mineta press release says, “Minami helped create and produce Central Coast Seniors, a weekly news and information television program for active older adults living in Santa Barbara and nearby coastal communities in California.” Swell.

Mr. Minami’s only relevant professional experience is serving in a similar affirmative action post at the Agriculture Department, where he “helped small and disadvantaged businesses find more opportunities in the food industry by negotiating agreements between representatives of the firms and large food-service companies.”

Translation: He’s an ethnic shakedown artist and a political activist crony of Mr. Mineta’s. And if you dare question his credentials, you’ll be knocked down with the race card faster than a high-speed Acela Express train (when it’s functioning).

As I’ve reported before, Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, adopted by states and cities across the country, is one of the most atrociously corrupt government endeavors in existence. Scam artists of all colors have used the federal racial set-aside program to win billions of dollars’ in federal contracts for themselves and their friends under the blanket presumption racial/ethnic minority equals aggrieved victim equals government entitlement.

The Bush administration defended this discriminatory scheme before the Supreme Court, which gives firms owned by certified minorities and women automatic special preferences for being “disadvantaged” — even if they have never suffered discrimination in a transportation-related business.

The result is a taxpayer-funded racial spoils system that enshrines different rules for different races — strict, race-based preferences for higher-bidding minorities over lower-bidding, white-owned firms.

Abuse by white- and minority-owned firms colluding to rip off taxpayers is routine:

• In May, two Denver construction firms were nabbed in a scheme to set up a Latino-owned “pass-through” firm to satisfy federal DBE minority hiring requirements.

• In June, Shamsud-din Ali was convicted in Philadelphia of racketeering and fraud related to an airport concession minority-owned subcontracting business set up as a front.

• In July, former Miami City Commissioner Art Teele and an electrical contractor were indicted on charges of conspiring to defraud Miami-Dade County of millions of dollars in minority contracts at Miami International Airport under the federal DBE program. (Teele committed suicide last month in the lobby of the Miami Herald newspaper offices.)

c Businesses and politicians in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans and Massachusetts have been implicated in similar schemes. Industry observers tell me such fraud is the rule, not the exception.

September 11 was supposed to have “changed everything.” But for Mr. Bush and his Clinton holdover, Norm Mineta, it’s business as usual at the Transportation Department. You can profile for profit, but not for public safety.

Homeland security? What homeland security?

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores” (Regnery).

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