Washington Rep. Todd Tiahrt said Friday he has been completely vindicated by a U.S. House ethics committee that said it found no evidence of wrongdoing after an investigation into political donations and defense appropriation earmarks.
The committee said Thursday that Tiahrt, a Republican, and six other House members — five Democrats and one Republican — did not violate ethics rules when they steered government money, projects and contracts to companies that donated to their re-election campaigns.
The report said investigators “found no evidence” that the representatives or their staffs considered or sought contributions in return for appropriations.
“This comes as no surprise because there was never anything to justify a review in the first place,” Tiahrt said in a statement released Friday. “The process referenced in the report reflects the same professional and objective procedures followed in my office for reviewing and requesting defense-related projects for Boeing and other reputable Kansas-based companies that employ thousands of Kansas workers in my district.”
All seven of the House members are or were senior members of the House Appropriations Committee.
Investigators were looking at appropriations and earmark requests tied to Boeing, Aeroflex and Teledyne Technologies, all of which have operations in Wichita, Kan.
The ethics committee said it found Tiahrt’s defense project requests were evaluated based upon criteria such as “the number of jobs created in the member’s district or the value to the taxpayer or the U.S. military.”
The appropriations went to companies represented by a now-defunct lobbying firm known as PMA Group. The FBI raided PMA’s offices in 2008.