Lobbyist Cozy With Lawmaker Wins Jackpot

Visclosky funnels $44M in earmarks to clients not even in his state
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2009 8:26 AM CDT
Peter Visclosky (left) talks to John Murtha, chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – If you’ve got a tech company looking for a handout from the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, might we recommend calling Rep. Peter Visclosky? Or more accurately, call K&L Gates, a lobbying firm that boasts in its marketing documents, “a very good relationship” with Visclosky, the third-ranking member of the all-powerful subcommittee. In the past fiscal year, Visclosky has sponsored or supported $44 million in earmarks for more than 15 K&L Gates clients, the Washington Post reports.

None of those 15 firms hailed from Visclosky’s native Indiana, but they all gave him campaign contributions either just before or just after getting their earmarks, to a combined tune of $200,000. They donated another $130,000 to the House Democratic campaign committee. Visclosky’s lawyer says he “proudly helped” many innovative companies, some of which chose to donate to his campaign. “This is traditional, open and utterly normal activity on the Hill.”