Puerto Rico recovery contract award should be investigated

The corruption attendant to much of what goes on in Puerto Rican government makes an investigation of a $300 million contract involving recovery from a devastating hurricane virtually mandatory. Neither President Donald Trump nor members of Congress should shrink from such a probe.

Puerto Rico’s power grid was a wreck even before the storm hit a few weeks ago. It was $9 billion in debt and unable to maintain consistent service to the island. That has been blamed in part for waste and outright corruption tolerated for many years in Puerto Rico.

The island’s government has awarded a $300 million contract to help restore power service to a tiny company in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Montana hometown. The firm had just two full-time employees before it got the contract.

That has raised eyebrows to the extent that Trump administration officials felt it necessary last week to stress they had no involvement in the contract.

Still, the matter needs to be investigated, even though Puerto Rican officials have hurriedly pulled out of the contract. While there may have been no conflict involving Zinke, the very fact Puerto Rico’s notoriously corrupt government was involved raises eyebrows.