Among the e-mails, a vice president at the company was asked on Feb. 23, 2007, to justify a request that the firm’s owners raise $20,000 in campaign contributions for Mr. Visclosky. “Can you give me some justification for giving $20K to Visclosky?” asked John Campbell, an independent SNC lobbyist who was working for owners Fatih and Eren Ozmen.
That was what the company and others working with Mr. Visclosky and the PMA Group “have been asked to contribute,” company vice president Dave Klingler wrote back that day.
“He has been a good supporter of SNC,” he said. “We have gotten over 10M in adds from him” — a reference to the more than $10 million in earmarks from Mr. Visclosky, funds he set aside specifically for SNC projects in defense-spending bills as a senior member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
The day after Mr. Klingler’s justification e-mail, federal records show Mr. Visclosky’s political committees received $18,800 in donations from the Ozmens and the company’s political action committee for a March 28, 2007 fundraiser.
On April 2, 2007, five days after the fundraiser, Mr. Visclosky requested a $2.5 million earmark for SNC in the 2008 defense appropriations bill. The Sparks, Nev.-based company ultimately got $2 million to develop sensors to help U.S. military forces.
Records show that in past years, SNC received more than $11 million in earmarks for various projects. Although headquartered in Nevada, the company maintains an office in Mr. Visclosky’s northwestern Indiana district.
Neither Mr. Klingler nor the company responded to e-mailed questions from The Washington Times.
SNC was not the only big donor to get Mr. Visclosky to submit earmark requests after the fundraiser. He obtained earmarks for at least six other firms who used PMA as their lobbyist and whose employees and PACs gave more than $9,000 to his March 2007 fundraiser.
According to campaign records, the donations were tied to the fundraiser that occurred five days before Mr. Visclosky turned in earmark-request letters to the House Appropriations Committee.
In addition, the records show, the single biggest group of donors were PMA lobbyists, their relatives and associates, who gave $42,500, much of it the day of the fundraiser. One of the PMA lobbyists, Richard Kaelin, had been Mr. Visclosky’s chief of staff a few years earlier.
According to the OCE report, a review of documents from Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group that tracks earmarks; information on campaign donations from a database by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks money in politics; and an examination by The Times of House records, other PMA clients whose employees made substantial donations to, and received earmarks from, Mr. Visclosky were:
• Advanced Concepts and Technologies International (ACT-I), a Waco, Texas, firm with an office in the congressman’s district, whose employees and their relatives gave $23,000 at two Visclosky fundraisers in 2007 and 2008. The company got two earmarks worth $4.4 million.
• Planning Systems Inc. of Reston, Va., which received a $1.6 million earmark for fiscal 2008 after its employees and its political action committee gave $22,400 for a March 2007 fundraiser. In 2008, the company’s employees gave $7,800, and the firm obtained a $2.4 million earmark for fiscal 2009.
• Samueli Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Alexandria, Va., which obtained a $1.6 million earmark for fiscal 2008. Institute founders Henry and Susan Samueli and their daughter, Jillian, gave $18,800 in early April 2007 as Mr. Visclosky was submitting his earmark requests.
• Prologic Inc, a West Virginia firm with an office in Mr. Visclosky’s district, obtained a $2 million earmark for fiscal 2008 after its employees and its political action committee gave $16,750 for the 2007 fundraiser.View Entire Story
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