Anti-Earmark Rep. Scores Earmark for Blimp Research
Sessions' $1.6M went to firm not in his district
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 30, 2009 12:21 PM CDT
Rep. Pete Sessions, flanked by House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., right, and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., addresses the media holding up a tire pump, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

(Newser) – Rep. Pete Sessions is a vocal opponent of earmarks, but last year he scored one for a company that's not even in his district. Thanks to Sessions, $1.6 million for airship research went to a firm with no experience in either government contracting or blimp-making, Politico reports. Seems that a lobbyist who has made more than $446,000 working for the Illinois company—and has a criminal record—is a former aide to Sessions, the GOP’s House campaign head.

A rep for Sessions said the blimp would be a good use of federal money and would create jobs in Sessions’ district—but the firm is based in Illinois, with a branch in San Antonio, 300 miles from Sessions’ Dallas-area district. A firm exec says he and his father are “business people” overseeing the project and “have obtained world-class experts to work for us.”