This takes chutzpah:
West Virginia Democrat Rep. Alan Mollohan apparently is undeterred by an ongoing Justice Department investigation of his earmarking practices because his 2010 earmark requests includes a $2 million item for a project that will benefit several of his campaign contributors, and a former staff member who is also a real estate investment partner.
The project is a new National Guard facility in Parkersburg. The lead partner and project manager in the development group on the project is Vandalia Heritage Foundation. Steven Allen Adams of West Virginia Watchdog describes the extensive links between Mollohan and Vandalia:
"Vandalia is run by Laura Kuhns, who serves as president and CEO for the non-profit group. She was a staff member of Mollohan from 1986 to 1990. She married Donald Kuhn and the couple returned to West Virginia, where she eventually took a job with the West Virginia High Technology Consortium, one of the five groups receiving the bulk of Mollohan’s earmarks," Adams reported.
"Between 2006 and 2007 Laura and Donald Kuhn donated a combined $5,400 to Mollohan. The Kuhns and Mollohan families have jointly invested in properties on Bald Head Island, N.C. The properties had a total value in 2006 of $2 million," Adams said...
"Officials associated with the National Guard project also gave campaign donations to Mollohan. Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell gave $250 towards Mollohan’s 2008 re-election. Both Keith Burdette and Cam Huffman with the Wood County Development Authority donated a combined $2,500 to Mollohan between 2006 and 2008. Burdette and Huffman are also registered lobbyists with the West Virginia Ethics Commission," according to Adams.
More information at West Virginia watchdog.
With so many ethics headaches looming, it's no wonder Democrats are beginning to talk about killing the independent House ethics office.