U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) has issued a statement insisting campaign contributions have nothing to do with appropriations requests, despite mounting evidence that the lobbying firm PMA secured lucrative government contracts for its clients by orchestrating a series of campaign donations to lawmakers, including Lamborn.
As the Colorado Independent reported Monday, Lamborn is not the only member of the Colorado delegation to be touched by the scandal. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Sen. Mark Udall and retired Rep. Tom Tancredo also worked to win contract money for PMA clients and also received campaign contributions either from the companies that benefited or from PMA.
According to The Seattle Times earmark database called “The Favor Factory,” Perlmutter and Tancredo received contributions from Colorado-based IHs, Inc., an information analysis company that provides consulting in the aerospace, defense and energy industries. IHS received $1.6 million for a Navy project described as “National Item Identification Number Validation and Correction.” IHS reportedly gave
$2,000 to Perlmutter and $500 to Tancredo. Perlmutter’s office reports he received no contributions from IHS but did receive $2,000 from PMA through its political action committee.
The same Seattle Times database lists Lamborn and Udall as receiving contributions from Lockheed Martin. Lamborn reportedly received $2,000 and Udall, if the Favor Factory list is correct, upwards of $20,000.
According to the statement Lamborn sent the Colorado Independent yesterday, the congressmen worked last year to secure a “modest increase” of $1 million for Lockheed’s Senior Scout Integrated mission Trainer, an Air Force project.
Four Members of the Colorado delegation jointly sought a modest increase over the proposed budget request for the Senior Scout Integrated Mission Trainer. The Senate and House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees decided to increase the funding for the program by $1 million.
On the matter of accepting campaign contributions from Lockheed, Lamborn’s office denied any connection and refused even to pay lip service to the idea that mere reassurances from lawmakers must always be viewed as an inadequate check on corruption:
We will take your word that [Lockheed] did donate [to Lamborn’s election campaign]. We haven’t checked because the bottom line is: campaign contributions have absolutely nothing to do with appropriations requests or any other legislative matter.
As Lamborn’s office surely knows by now, the FBI and at least one vocal Arizona congressmen disagree. As the Congressional Quarterly reported yesterday, the FBI has all but shut down PMA as its probe into the firm’s earmark-related lobbying activities proceeds, and the House is scheduled to vote today on whether to begin “an ethics investigation into the relationship between earmarks and campaign contributions.”
Sen. Udall’s office has yet to respond to the Independent’s requests for comment.
**CORRECTION: Rep. Perlmutter’s office called with the correction that appears above. “The Congressman did not receive a campaign contribution from IHS, Inc. It is Rep. Perlmutter’s policy never to accept contributions from companies he is working to secure funding for,” said spokesperson Leslie Oliver. The Colorado Independent regrets the error.