Do Earmark Recipients Hire Lobbyists?


Chuck Simmons of American North Shore Journal picks out the 15 most expensive earmarks, cumulatively costing some $23.5 million. Just for fun, I decided to check the Senate’s online lobby registration database to see how many of the 15 had hired Washington lobbyists. Those that do are the Florida Institute of Technology; Cook Children’s Medical Center; the parent of Columbus Children’s Research Institute; Texas Tech University, home of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; Mission Healthcare Foundation, the fundraising arm of Mission Hospitals; all six of the seven institutions that comprise the Alliance for NanoHealth; the University of Virginia; Atlantic Health Systems; and Case Western Reserve University. That’s eight of the fifteen that have had some Washington presence (nine if you count the Alliance for NanoHealth).

Of those that don’t, the one I found most interesting is the Enterprise South Industrial Park, which got $1.3 million to establish a state of the art training center. Er…training for what? Maybe automotive workers:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – TVA officials announced today that a more than 1,600-acre Chattanooga-Hamilton County industrial site has been certified as a megasite, a large industrial property suitable for major automotive manufacturing.

The property, known as the Enterprise South Industrial Park, was certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting of Greenville, S.C., an independent firm commissioned by TVA.

It is the first site in Tennessee and the fourth in the Tennessee Valley to be certified as a megasite. Sites in Columbus and near Tupelo, Miss., and a site near Hopkinsville, Ky., were previously certified.

The site is co-owned and co-developed by Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga and is supported with marketing and infrastructure expertise from various partners including state and federal officials, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and TVA.

“Chattanooga’s certified, ready-for-development megasite gives the community and the Tennessee Valley a huge advantage in recruiting new automotive manufacturing facilities and other industries,” said TVA Director Bill Baxter. “There is a large demand for certified industrial sites in the automotive industry, and the Enterprise South Industrial Park allows Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee to be fierce competitors in this highly aggressive business.”

In case you’re keeping score at home, the City of Chattanooga has hired a Washington lobbyist.