Friday, July 31, 2009

Pete Sessions' blimp blunder

Pete Sessions claims to not like earmarks. So how come he directed $1.6 million to a blimp company that's never actually made a blimp before? And how come he supports a blimp business that's not even based in his district? Politico wants to know...
Rep. Pete Sessions — the chief of the Republicans’ campaign arm in the House — says on his website that earmarks have become “a symbol of a broken Washington to the American people.”

Yet in 2008, Sessions himself steered a $1.6 million earmark for dirigible research to an Illinois company whose president acknowledges having no experience in government contracting, let alone in building blimps.

What the company did have: the help of Adrian Plesha, a former Sessions aide with a criminal record who has made more than $446,000 lobbying on its behalf.

Sessions spokeswoman Emily Davis defends the airship project as a worthwhile use of federal funds and says it could eventually lead to thousands of new jobs in Sessions’s Dallas-area district.

But the company that received the earmarked funds, Jim G. Ferguson & Associates, is based in the suburbs of Chicago, with another office in San Antonio — nearly 300 miles from Dallas...
Read more at Politico.

There's also a good op-ed on The Examiner by Dallas County Republican activist and transportation expert David Smith:
Second verse, same as the first. Unfortunately, nobody in the Republican Party has stepped up to challenge Rep. Pete Sessions. And in the Republican-dominated 32nd District of Texas, that means the lesser of all evils remains our Congressman.
U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions is once again being implicated in questionable practices in his tenure in Washington. Already his name has been linked to Ponzi scheme con artist "Sir" Alan Stanford, Malaysian investor-donors and casino deals in another State. Now the King of Corruption has to answer for why he saw fit to stand up in public and say, "Earmarks are bad" with John McCain then turn right around and gain funding for a hot air balloon company in Illinois, no less...
So, David Smith, interested in running for Congress? We have 2 Democrats interested, and probably a libertarian. What we need now is a Republican Party primary challenger...anyone?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pete Sessions votes against small business research and innovation

In an overwhelming vote of bipartisanship, the House passed H.R. 2965, the Enhancing Small Business Research and Innovation Act. Pete Sessions was one of only 41 members of Congress to vote against this bill (See Roll No. 486). For those who would like more information about this bill, Tom Price (R-GA) offers an analysis at his website Republican Study Group (Tom Price voted in favor of the bill):
H.R. 2965 would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) for two years, through September 30, 2011. The SBIR program provides grants meant to aid certain small businesses grow in scope trough three phases of project development, implementation, and commercialization. The STTR program requires certain federal agencies to set-aside a percentage of their extramural research and development budget for the purpose of developing projects produced by small businesses. In addition, the bill would expand the amount of agency set-asides for SBIR and STTR programs and increase the maximum amount of individual awards for small businesses...