Critz Tied to Air Force Program Built on Earmarks

May 12, 2009

In 2006, the Air Force created a technology development program at a Florida air base with the understanding that it would cost no Air Force money to run. Instead, contractors who would be doing business with the new unit would lobby Congress for the earmarks to support its work.

As then-Maj. Gen. Donald Wurster wrote in an August 2006 memo outlining the project, “Providing a local lab focal point … leverages industry advocacy for congressional funding to effectively develop solutions.” An Air Force presentation from January 2007 emphasizes that all “core funding” for the project “will be from outside funds.” Wurster is now a lieutenant general and commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command.

The program was jointly conceived and promoted by contractors, lobbyists, military officials and some Congressional staff. At one key meeting at a Pennsylvania resort, a district staff member for Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) endorsed the program and said Murtha would help support it, according to minutes of that meeting obtained by Roll Call.

Read more: (Paul Singer, “Air Force Program Built on Earmarks,” Roll Call, 5/12/09)