A marketing firm with close ties to the president got a plum no-bid contract for $100,000 to design the “Let’s Move” logo for Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity campaign, according to government documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

The arrangement violates federal contracting rules and is even acknowledged by federal officials as an “unauthorized commitment,” the records obtained by JW show. As a result the agency that illegally awarded the contract, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), prepared a “request for ratification of an unauthorized commitment” to legitimize the expenditure. The justification provided to JW as part of the records is that the program was too important and time-sensitive for the official who awarded the no-bid deal to research the rules.

In all, JW obtained 44 pages of documents from the USDA, the agency largely in charge of distributing funds for the First Lady’s $4.5 billion measure (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) to revolutionize the inner-city diet and conquer childhood obesity. Among the documents is a scathing electronic mail exchange between the USDA Deputy Director (Jodey Edwards) in the Office of Procurement & Property Management and an agency administrative officer named Yvette Ward. Edwards asks “What did we get for our money … any deliverable? I know this is an unauthorized commitment: however the contractor still must provide evidence of what is being paid for …”

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