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Tiahrt probes troubling

It's troubling that Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, reportedly is under investigation by two ethics panels for steering federal funds to clients of a lobbying firm that made donations to his campaign. Tiahrt secured $5 million and helped steer another $2 million in earmarks to clients of the PMA Group between 2001 and 2008, while receiving $21,250 in campaign donations from PMA Group during that period. The Center for Public Integrity also complained this year that Tiahrt directed earmarks to a company represented by a former Tiahrt aide. It included Tiahrt among other House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee members "in circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest, involving former congressional staffers-turned lobbyists, earmarks and campaign cash."

UPDATE: Tiahrt issued a statement this afternoon saying that the Office of Congressional Ethics asked about the process his office followed for submitting defense-related project requests to the House Appropriations Committee, and that he had fully complied with the request. But he had "no reason whatsoever to believe that we are subject to a House Ethics Committee investigation." Tiahrt said he takes "pride in our professional and ethical process for reviewing requests made to my office — a process that we undertake to ensure the highest level of integrity is part of all our conduct."

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