Researching Shelby’s earmarks using Poligraft


Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., requested earmarks for at least ten companies that have been donors to the lawmaker in this election cycle. Five of those companies have been long-term contributors to Shelby.

Shelby, who is on the Senate appropriations committee, requested more than $54.3 million for these ten companies and has received more than $69,000 in campaign funds from their employees and PACs since 2008, a quick analysis of his online earmark requests using Sunlight’s newest tool shows.

Employees of Radiance Technologies, for which Shelby requested $5 million in earmarks, have given the lawmaker more $19,750 in campaign cash in the last cycle. The company, based in Huntsville, Alabama, develops anti-missile technology.

Although the online earmark requests of several lawmakers the Reporting Group researched using Poligraft returned lists of earmark recipients that had also contributed to the campaigns of their benefactors in Congress, Shelby stood out as one of the few that had as many matches, with quite a few that had given to his campaign over a long period of time.

For example, Radiance Technologies’ employees and political action committee together have given Shelby more than $63,000 over the last decade. Another company that received an earmark last year and is on the request list for 2011, Colsa Corporation, has given one quarter of all their contributions to Shelby.

According to a study by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Shelby, who is up for re-election in November, has a long history of doling out earmarks to companies whose employees and lobbyists donate to his re-election committees especially to companies that have hired his former staffers as lobbyists in recent years. The report found that there were at least eight of his former staffers who, after leaving government, went on to create or be part of Washington lobby shops that in turn worked on appropriating $267 million in earmarks for their clients since 2008. Also, these newly minted lobbyists and their clients donated almost $1 million to Shelby’s committee and Political Action Committee.