I know it’s not cold hard cash stashed in a freezer, but still … the amount of money involved is a little mind-boggling.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has funneled more than $236 million in federal funds since 2000 to a web of nonprofit groups he created back home in the Bluegrass State, according to a new report by an ethics watchdog group.
Another group of private firms linked to Rogers and the nonprofit companies received another $227 million in federal loans, grants and contracts during the same period, a three-month investigation by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found.
Rogers’ family members, current and former aides, donors and business associates have benefited personally from the congressman’s largesse with federal dollars, according to the report. For instance, Rogers’ son, John, worked for one Kentucky company – Senture – that received a $4 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security with Rogers’ help back in 2004. Senture, which has now added offices in several other states, announced last year that it would receive contracts from several other federal agencies, including the Veterans Administration and Education Department….
The nonprofit groups set up by Rogers comprise an alphabet soup of acronyms: the Center for Rural Development, Inc. (CRD), Forward in the Fifth, Inc. (FIF), Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, Inc. (SKED), Southern & Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association, Inc. (TOUR SEKY), Eastern Kentucky Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment, Inc. (PRIDE), Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, Inc. (UNITE), and the National Institute for Hometown Security, Inc. (NIHS).
That’s $560 million — more than a half a billion. At that rate, the good congressman from Kentucky will be getting into real money sometime soon.