Tuesday, December 18, 2007

KY Congressman gets a haul of earmarks

for a company that knows how to play the game according to the Real Time Investigations by the Sunlight Foundation.


After it hired a lobbyist and its employees' contributed to a member of Congress' leadership political action committee, a Kentucky company saw its defense business quadruple thanks to earmarks.

Over the last three years, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., says he has earmarked at least $10.4 million in defense funds for Phoenix Products, Inc., a small company in McKee, Ky., that makes aircraft accessories, including custom V.I.P. interiors for Black Hawk helicopters that "offer the finest leather," fabric, naugahyde and carpet, according to the firm's Web site.

In the 2008 Defense Appropriations Act that was signed into law on Nov. 13, the company received two earmarks for a total of $3.6 million to deliver 500 "leak proof" transmission drip pans for Black Hawks used by the U.S. Army and the National Guard. "The funding would be used to address U.S. Army drip pan needs," Rogers explained in one of the two request letters he sent to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In a press release, Rogers was somewhat more effusive about the drip pans, saying that they "k eep troops and patients safer during complicated rescue missions."

But Army officials say that they have yet to decide if the transmission drip pans should be purchased from Phoenix Products at all.