How northern Virginians love Rep. James Moran. Especially employees at defense contractors, it seems. Alas, Rep. Moran is merely one member to benefit from contributions from people seeking congressional earmarks.
Lobbyists and corporate officials talked bluntly in e-mail exchanges about connections between making generous campaign donations and securing federal funds through members of an important House Appropriations subcommittee, according to not-yet-public documents reviewed by ethics investigators.
In summer 2007, for example, senior executives at a small McLean defense firm tried to figure out which of them would buy a ticket to a wine-tasting fundraiser for Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), a member of the Appropriations subcommittee on defense. At the time, the company sought help from Moran's office in securing contracts through special earmarks added to the defense bill.
In an e-mail exchange, one senior officer said he didn't understand why he had to attend the fundraiser when he didn't even drink wine.
"You don't have to drink," Innovative Concepts' chief technology officer, Andrew Feldstein, shot back in an e-mail. "You just have to pay."
"LOL," responded the other officer.
The fundraiser was hosted by the PMA Group, a powerful lobbying firm whose unusual success in obtaining "earmarked" contracts from members of the military subcommittee was a key focus of a recent House ethics investigation.
Not a bad return on the investment, I must say. PMA Group had especially tight ties to the late John Murtha, renowned for his ability to mulct taxpayers for the benefit of his constituents and campaign contributors.
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