February 14, 2011

Senator Jack Reed's 2010 Earmark for RI Defense Contractor

Marc Comtois

UPDATED: WPRI's Tim White and Ted Nesi reported last week that both Senator Reed and then-Rep. Patrick Kennedy secured $27 million in earmarks for Middletown defense contractor Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow over the years. On Sunday, ProJo reporter John Mulligan looked into the Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow kickback scheme and potential political repercussions, particularly the earmarking process.

Over the years, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy have secured millions of dollars worth of federal spending “earmarks” for Advanced Solutions.

“As far as we can tell from these documents, the alleged abuse involves contracts awarded and managed by the Navy,” spokesman Chip Unruh said in a printed statement from Reed’s office. “The affidavit does not even mention the word ‘earmarks.’ ”

“The earmarking process is an easy target right now and I don’t think it’s entirely fair,” said Sean Richardson, a Washington lobbyist and onetime chief of staff to Kennedy.

Members of the Rhode Island congressional delegation and staff are careful to screen earmark requests, he said. None of them would work on an earmark “that we wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the Providence Journal,” he said. None of them had any reason to view Advanced Solutions as “anything other than a Rhode Island success story,” he said.

About 10 seconds of research at Legistorm (data from Taxpayers for Common Sense) revealed that Senator Reed submitted a $3 million earmark for ASFT in 2010, with a final approved amount of $2.4 million. That does not mean Senator Reed is or will be implicated in any of the current mess. It simply means that, while the affidavit did not mention "earmarks", it is true that Senator Reed did submit at least one for ASFT.

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What was done to protect the taxpayer from this (alleged) fraud?

Whatever else comes of this, one thing's for sure: our gov't, including our own Congressional delegation, needs to markedly increase the ratio of oversight to tax dollars handed out.

Posted by: Monique at February 14, 2011 9:21 PM
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