An Earmark’s Path Feeds Debate

May 20, 2009

On March 17, 2008, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote a letter requesting a $1.6 million earmark for an Ohio company to build collapsible polyurethane fuel storage tanks for the military.

This unremarkable earmark is interesting mostly because of the lobbyist for the company that makes the storage bladders: Mary Anne Walsh, who had been Ryan’s chief of staff until she left his office a year and a few days before Ryan wrote the letter.

For ethics reformers around Capitol Hill, Walsh’s role in the earmark is an example of the Congressional revolving door — a staff member gets paid big bucks to leave Congress and return to fetch federal dollars for the clients who are now paying for her access to key Members.

Read more: (Paul Singer, “An Earmark’s Path Feeds Debate,” Roll Call, 5/20/09)