Friday, April 29, 2011

Powerful Chairman Helps Charities and Friends and Family

by Gary Snyder

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the chairman the powerful appropriations committee, which chooses where to dispense federal funds, has funneled more than $236 million in taxpayer dollars to a network of nonprofit groups he started , according to a new report from ethics watchdog CREW. Rogers' family members, aides, and donors "have benefited personally" from the Rogers' largess with taxpayer money. 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’s help back in 2004.

Despite signing onto the earmark ban, Rogers earmarked more than $250 million in the 111th Congress alone. He is not bashful about the earmarks. Rogers touts 8 nonprofit groups on his official website. Another nonprofit, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp., has ties to nearly all the other Rogers’s related groups. A KHIC official, Ray Moncrief, has given $16,000 to Rogers’ reelection campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission records

One KHIC-backed firm, Mid-South Electronics, won a $15 million contract in 2005 thanks to Rogers but later moved most of its operations to Mexico.

Rogers directly intervened in helping boost a Small Business Administration disaster loan for a marina owner who is also a donor to Rogers’ congressional campaign. That businessman, J.D. Hamilton, sought Rogers’s backing in dealing the SBA. His company also hired a lobbying firm that employed a former Rogers’s aide and whose employees have donated more than $13,000 to Rogers’s campaign or leadership PAC.
Hamilton’s company, Lee Ford’s Resort Marina, in Rogers’s district, received a $1.5 million loan from SBA after the Army Corps of Engineers lowered the water level on Lake Cumberland in 2007 in order to help save a failing dam. Hamilton has complained the lower water level hurts his business. With Rogers’s help — including a letter to SBA last July — Hamilton was able to hold a meeting with SBA officials in Rogers’ office last year. SBA then gave an additional $2.5 million loan to Hamilton’s company, and redesignated the firm as a “major employer” in the region.






Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, , Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more • Nonprofits: On the Brink (iUniverse, 2006)
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