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Politico: Sessions pilots $1.6 million earmark for blimp venture

By Laurie Bennett

July 30, 2009 at 10:41am

As Politico notes today, Rep. Pete Sessions has called earmarks “a symbol of a broken Washington.”

So it’s worth noting that Sessions backed a $1.6 million earmark to a company outside his Dallas-based district, owned by a father and son who have contributed liberally to his leadership PAC.

The company, Jim G. Ferguson & Associates, employs lobbyist Adrian Plesha, a former aide to Sessions.

Pete Sessions
Pete Sessions

The Illinois-based firm is supposed to be using the earmark for dirible research. According to the earmark description submitted by Sessions to the Congressional Record last September:

The airship will also provide a low cost solution to the military need to rapidly and economically transport very large, very heavy and outsized cargos strategic distances in support of global military surge, support and logistical operations.

Half of the funds will be used for technical and engineering work. Another $416,000 will go to project management. Ferguson told Politico that he and his father were acting in a supervisory role, although neither has any engineering expertise.

Jim G. Ferguson IV acknowledged that neither he nor his father has experience in defense or aviation. He said he and his father were “business people” who had acquired patents for building an advanced blimp.

Sessions spokeswoman Emily Davis told Politico that the project was a worthwhile use of federal funds and could ultimately lead to thousands of new jobs in Sessions’ district.

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