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Spending like a drunken sailor

AP reports: The Navy hired a communications firm for $1.6 million in 2001 in an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of a vote on whether part of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques would continue to serve as a bombing range, according to documents obtained by a watchdog group.

Judicial Watch obtained the material under the Freedom of Information Act and provided them to The Associated Press.

According to the documents, the Navy's Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in Norfolk, Va., initially contracted with the Rendon Group of Washington for advice on "dissemination of accurate information" regarding the referendum of Vieques residents on whether to keep part of the island as a training range.

It later modified the contract to have Rendon "conduct public outreach to build grassroots support" for Navy training during vote. The contract value also went from an initial value of $200,000 to $1.6 million after two modifications. -- Firm Hired by Navy to Sway Vieques Vote