Tea Party Darling Tiahrt No Stranger to Earmarks

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 10:29 am

More on Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kans.). While he might be the darling of Sarah Palin and Tea Party groups in today’s Kansas GOP Senate primary, they can’t be thrilled about his long record with lobbyists and earmarks throughout his congressional career on the House Appropriations Committee.

Tiarht, continuing in the storied tradition of former Defense Appropriations chair John Murtha (D-Pa.), has made numerous relationships “fraught with potential conflicts of interest,” and has been involved in a more than a few questionable earmarks as well, reports The Center for Public Integrity:

Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) has spent 13 of his 15 years as a congressman on the Appropriations Committee. 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 benefitted 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). Last November, when the House Republican Conference created a committee to examine the earmark process in the House, Tiahrt helped strip out a provision that would have sought a stop to earmarks during the period of the committee’s inquiry. Ayers, Radiance, and Tiahrt’s office did not respond to the Center’s requests for comment.

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