A new political action committee created by the brother of Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) raised $50,000 this spring almost entirely from staff and clients of powerhouse lobbying shop PMA Group, and within weeks, those same donors reaped millions of dollars in earmarks from Reyes and other Members of Congress closely affiliated with PMA.
On March 1, Jesus âChuyâ Reyes filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission establishing BEST PAC. Reyes is the brother and campaign manager of Rep. Reyes, the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and creation of the political action committee was the Congressmanâs decision, his office said Friday.
By the first week of June, the PAC had raised $35,000 from 32 individuals, almost every one of whom was an employee of the PMA Group or an employee of a defense or intelligence technology firm represented by PMA. Most of the donations were made on May 7, four days before the Intelligence panel approved the 2008 intelligence authorization bill, which included earmarks for several donors to the PAC.
Reyes' spokeswoman explains to Roll Call that it's just a coincidence that the thousands in contributions landed so close to the passage of the bill. Or as she puts it:
âThese are all moving targets, and the scheduling of events is all done well in advance... It would be difficult to draw a connection between the passage of a bill and these events.â
So maybe next time the fundraiser will be scheduled with appearances in mind.