Rep. Adam Schiff earmarked more than $10 million to his defense contractor donors
Pay to play? “If you’re getting a campaign contribution and getting your earmark for that same company or for a client of that lobbyist, it has that perception” says Taxpayers of Common Sense.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.), who is running for the Senate in 2024, doled out $10 million through earmarks to defense contractors that donated to his campaigns, according to a report published on Monday by Politico.
Schiff, who is running against fellow Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, earmarked over $10 million of taxpayer money to five companies to develop military technologies between 2001 and 2007. These companies were found to have donated tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign, according to a review of earmark records by Politico.
“We were always concerned about the pay-to-play aspects,” wrote Steve Ellis, who runs the group “Taxpayers of Common Sense,” of Schiff’s earmarks, to Politico. “If you’re getting a campaign contribution and getting your earmark for that same company or for a client of that lobbyist, it has that perception.”
The largest donor earmarks by Schiff, totaling $6 million, went to Smiths Detection, which was developing chemical weapons sensors for the military, while another $3 million went to Phasebridge, Inc., which was developing a Naval radar system.
Both of these groups retained a lobbyist, Paul Magliocchetti, who around the same time donated $8,500 to Schiff’s campaign committees. Magliocchetti was later convicted on federal charges of illegal campaign contributions and served 27 months in prison, Politico reported.
Schiff also earmarked $1 million for Eureka Aerospace, a company that was developing military technology to stop vehicles that evaded checkpoints. Schiff’s campaign received $34,500 from Eureka’s CEO between 2006 and 2020, as well as from others in his household.
Schiff earmarked an additional $1 million to Tanner Research, Inc., which was conducting research on detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which killed many U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tanner’s CEO donated $15,800 to Schiff from 2003 to 2012.
Apart from these groups, Schiff also steered $800,000 to Orbits Lightwave, Inc. and $492,000 to Superprotononic, which were researching laser technology and solid acid fuel cells, respectively. Orbits is a contractor for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) while Superprotonic, which was reconstituted as SAFCell, Inc. in 2009, is a materials supplier to the U.S. Army.
Both companies’ founders donated $3,700 and $1,500 to Schiff’s campaign, respectively, Politico reported. Schiff’s opponent, Porter, attacked the use of earmarks in a video posted on Twitter, now known as X, on July 25, which appeared to be subtly critical of Schiff.
“Instead of neutral experts looking at where the need is greatest, politicians up for reelection set taxpayer dollars aside for projects they choose for their own reasons,” Porter said. “The solution to Washington gridlock isn’t misdirected spending; it’s an end to the dark money.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca.), by contrast, has defended the practice. “I am not going to neglect my constituents, nor the state, by not bringing in as many federal projects — these are tax dollars. My constituents in the state deserve their tax dollars to be returned to the state,” she said, according to SpectrumNY1.
Schiff and Porter are currently the leading two candidates in California’s open primary. They did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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