House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis’ (R-CA) aide in charge of tracking defense appropriations “is a military officer on the Pentagon’s payroll, an apparent violation of House rules and a possible conflict of interest,” according to The Hill newspaper. Department of Defense regulations state that military personnel can work on committee staffs but not on the personal staff of an individual member. Lewis’ aide, Marine Lt. Col. Michael Kime, has apparently worked for Lewis since 2001 while being on the Pentagon payroll. Congressional watchdogs call Kime’s role a conflict of interest and defense experts state that his position may give the Marines greater leverage over contracts and earmarks in the Appropriations Committee. Lewis has been a target of great scrutiny since his connection to the contractors involved in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal emerged.