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A Blimp, a Republican and the Epitome of Hypocrisy

Politico’s John Bresnahan has a great piece of reporting today about the hypocrisy of Republican leaders calling for the end of earmarks, not to mention the naked conflicts of interest created by the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street.

The highlights: It appears that (1) a particularly vocal Republican critic of earmarks (Texas Rep. Pete Sessions) directed a $1.6 million earmark of his own last year to fund a blimp project through a firm that has experience in neither government contracting nor blimps. (2) Nearly half of the $1.6 million will go to administrative costs. (3) A former Sessions aide is a top lobbyist for the firm, raking in more than $446,000 from the company since 2006. And (4) Sessions says the project could create thousands of jobs in his Dallas district, though the firm is based near Chicago.

[W]hile Sessions used a Dallas address for the company when he submitted his earmark request to the House Appropriations Committee last year, one of the two men who control the company says that address is merely the home of one of his close friends.

In its defense, Sessions’ office told Politico that the Texas Republican has come out in favor of an earmark moratorium only since the start of this year — in other words, after he pushed for the blimp funding. A convenient distinction from the lawmaker who now heads the National Republican Congressional Committee.

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