Husband of Specter Aide Benefits From Earmarks
USA Today reports on some questionable ethics involving Senator Specter (R-PA) and one of his legislative assistants:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Arlen Specter helped direct almost $50 million in Pentagon spending during the past four years to clients of the husband of one of his top aides, records show.
Specter, R-Pa., used a process called “earmarking” 13 times to set aside $48.7 million for six clients represented by lobbyist Michael Herson and the firm he co-founded, American Defense International. The clients paid Herson’s firm nearly $1.5 million in fees since 2002, federal lobbying records show.
Herson’s wife, Vicki Siegel Herson, is Specter’s legislative assistant for appropriations. She deals with Specter’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee, where all the earmarks originated. Siegel, who uses her maiden name at work, is a former lobbyist for defense contractors who has worked for Specter since 1999.
As the article later states, “Senate ethics rules prohibit senators and their staffers from using their positions to further their personal financial interests.”
This story comes via Mark Tapscott, who also links to some history on Specter towards the bottom of his post on earmark reform.