Washington Babylon — May 11, 2009, 10:34 am

Defense Plant Doesn’t Want Earmarked Money: But lobby firm gets it anyway

From the Kansas City Star:

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver likes earmarks. His rule: If they come to his district, federal funds are well worth wrangling over, especially for infrastructure repairs and nonprofit causes. But how does an East Coast software company qualify for a Cleaver earmark?

For two years, the Kansas City Democrat has secured earmarks totaling about $2 million with the aim of supplying a south Kansas City defense plant the latest in design software technology… [But] the local plant he sought to help— the federally owned Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies Kansas City Plant— never asked for the money, plant officials said. In fact, most of the public dollars are slated to go to Parametric Technology Corp., a for-profit software developer based 1,200 miles from Cleaver’s district.

“I’d never heard of that company in my life” until recently, said Cleaver, voicing agitation that a lobbying group may have used his appetite for earmarks to its advantage. In tracing the origins of one little earmark— just a drop in a $7.7 billion bucket of pet projects earmarked in Congress’ recent omnibus spending bill— The Kansas City Star found that a lobbying group working for Massachusetts-based Parametric pushed for the funds.

That lobbyist, known as The PMA Group, is under federal investigation for its dealings with lawmakers. It was a major campaign donor to an Indiana congressman and others who served on the appropriations panel that signed off on Cleaver’s earmark.

All the while, Cleaver said, he thought that the defense plant on Bannister Road was seeking the project, which carries the snappy acronym “MDICE.” (It’s short for Multi-Disciplined Integrated Collaborative Environment.) He was so confident that the project was the brainchild of Honeywell, which provides more than 2,000 jobs in his district, “I never even called Honeywell. … Perhaps I should’ve had these questions.”

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I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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