This is absurd:
More than a dozen defense contractors with business before U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), a member of the powerful House Appropriations defense subcommittee, have donated thousands of dollars to Moran’s younger brother Brian, a candidate for governor of Virginia.
Brian Moran filed a campaign finance report this week that shows he collected $80,000 during the first three months of 2009 from 18 contractors that have been longtime backers of the congressman. Seven of the firms are awaiting approval of Moran-backed earmarks totaling $14.5 million.
Many of the firms are Virginia-based, and those executives who would speak about the gifts said they have long been politically active in the state and have known both brothers for years. Others have been heavy federal contributors with little involvement in state politics. Most have benefited from Jim Moran’s role in crafting defense spending bills each year.
Even if this didn’t have a bad odor to it, Brian Moran should at least have had the sense to reject the money, knowing full well how bad it looks.
And the thing you have to keep in mind is that this is the subtext of the upcoming fight over the Pentagon budget, which I suspect will be bruising. These companies have spent a vast sum of money and have spread the industry across so many districts so that cutting one program affects so many politicians that once a weapon system is approved, it becomes a perpetual motion machine as far as budgeting.