CREW Calls for Army, OCE to Investigate Rep. Rogers’ Earmarks
Washington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the U.S. Army Inspector General to investigate why the Army paid approximately $17,000 for a replacement helicopter part that apparently could have been bought for a fraction of the price.
A recent CREW investigation exposed how Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) steered an earmark to Phoenix Products, a Kentucky-based company owned by contributors to his campaign, to produce a part for the Black Hawk helicopter at nearly eight times the cost of a similar part. Additionally, CREW called on the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to investigate Rep. Rogers’ actions.
Since 2006, the Army has entered into contracts totaling more than $17.6 million with Phoenix Products to buy leakproof transmission fluid drip pans for UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Phoenix Products obtained the contracts thanks to earmarks Rep. Rogers inserted into appropriations bills. An Army spokesman said the contracts were awarded to Phoenix Products without competitive bidding because Phoenix is “the only company deemed ‘approved and certified’ for the work.” Meanwhile, a manufacturer that produces drip pans for other military helicopters charges about $2,500 for a similar part. CREW’s research found Phoenix Products’ owners and their lobbying firm have contributed more than $35,000 to Rep. Rogers’ campaign and political action committees over the last decade.
“It defies belief that one small company, coincidentally in the district of the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is the only possible contractor the Army can turn to for a spare helicopter part,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The Army needs to investigate whether taxpayers have been overcharged so Rep. Rogers could trade pork for campaign contributions.”
CREW also called on the OCE to investigate whether Rep. Rogers violated federal law and House rules by accepting campaign contributions from Phoenix Products in exchange for federal contracts. Rep. Rogers, known as the “Prince of Pork,” has a long track record of procuring billions of dollars worth of federal contracts for favored organizations.
“Rep. Rogers claims to have sworn off earmarking, but it’s clear he’s continued to steer contracts back home to the detriment of taxpayers,” continued Sloan. “In this era of massive budget deficits and spending cuts, it is exactly because of wasteful spending like this that Americans have so little confidence in Congress.”