Companies Find Ways to Bypass Ban on Earmarks
TOLEDO, Ohio — Just one day after leaders of the House of Representatives announced a ban on earmarks to profit-making companies, Victoria Kurtz, the vice president for marketing of a small Ohio defense contracting firm, hit on a creative way around it.
To keep the taxpayer money flowing, Ms. Kurtz incorporated what she called the Great Lakes Research Center, a nonprofit organization that just happened to specialize in the same kind of work performed by her own company — and at the same address.
Now, the center — which intends to sell the Pentagon small hollow metal spheres for body armor that the Defense Department has so far declined to buy in large quantities and may never use — has $10.4 million in new earmark requests from Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio.
The congresswoman, who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Ms. Kurtz’s family and her business’s lobbyists, thought the quickly hatched nonprofit organization was a convenient solution.