News Columns & Blogs

Earmarks for contributions?

The Center for Public Integrity counted Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, among the 12 of 16 members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee "in circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest, involving former congressional staffers-turned lobbyists, earmarks and campaign cash." In Tiahrt's case, the center reported, "lobbyist Brad Ayers worked in Tiahrt's office as a legislative assistant from 2001 to 2004. When Ayers started a solo lobbying practice at the end of 2004, one of his first clients was Radiance Technologies, an Alabama-based company with an office in Wichita. Ayers has donated $11,400 to Tiahrt since leaving his employ and Radiance's political action committee and executives have donated $17,300 to the Kansan. Radiance benefited from two 2008 earmarks requested by Tiahrt — one for 'upward looking sonar' technology ($1 million) and the other for an 'integrated vehicle health monitoring system' ($1.2 million)."