The Washington Post drops a big one today, revealing unseemly ties between Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and a longtime friend-cum-lobbyist.
Since coming to Congress in 1994, Davis has made a name for himself as a hard-nosed reformer -- and for pushing new technology programs on the federal government. His constituency includes many of the tech companies most actively involved in delivering those programs to different agencies.
So is it any concern that a longtime friend of the House Government Reform Committee Chairman makes thousands of dollars helping tech companies gain access to federal contracts? Or that he touts his ties to Davis to potential clients -- ties which are pretty strong, judging by the 15 appearances the lawmaker or his staffers have made before the pal's group, as well as the praises the pal's clients sing about the access to Davis they got by using him.
Moreover, the pal -- Donald Upson -- typically doesn't register as a lobbyist for a single one of his clients. And he put Davis' wife on his payroll. She makes nearly $80,000 a year to work half-time from home.
Not enough to raise your eyebrows? Try this: despite his stance as a good-government bulldog, Davis apparently has a reputation among some insiders as a pork-chaser for tech companies in his district. "The businesses in Mr. Davis district are primarily government contractors and he wants to make sure the $$ are free flowing without much regard to the fiscal consequences," e-mailed senior White House procurement official Angela B. Styles to her boss in 2002.
Davis says he has broken no laws and sees no ethics or disclosure violations; Upson, he says, receives no special access to his office. His wife has a right to earn a living, he said, and besides she has no business on Capitol Hill.