Government Watch

Former Congresswoman Rakes in $450K from Federally Funded Laboratories


by Michael Bastasch – The Daily Caller

Former New Mexico Republican Rep. Heather Wilson received nearly half a million dollars in “questionable” payments from four federally funded nuclear laboratories after leaving office, according to the Department of Energy’s inspector general.

“In fact, our testing revealed that the four facility contractors paid approximately $450,000 to [Heather Wilson and Company, LLC] even though they did not receive evidence that work performed under the agreements had been completed,” reads the IG’s report. “These payments were fully reimbursed by the government.”

According to the inspector general’s report, Wilson failed to provide documentation for work she did for Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, for which she was paid $20,000 per month. Both the labs seem to have asked Wilson to secure them more work, which is in violation of Wilson’s contract, according to the report.

Wilson received 23 payments totaling $226,378 from Sandia between January 2009 and March 2011, and 19 payments from Los Alamos totaling $195,718 between August 2009 and February 2011.

Wilson also received $30,000 from the Nevada Test Site and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Officials there even told investigators that there “were no deliverables” associated with the $30,000 Wilson received.

The contractors have since paid back $442,877 out of the $464,203 that was paid to Wilson.

Under federal law, “fees for services rendered are allowable only when supported by evidence of the nature and scope of the service furnished” — so Wilson has to prove she did the work.

Wilson told the Associated Press that the report “confirms that the labs were satisfied with my work. The work was done in full compliance with the contracts we signed and under the direct supervision of lab sponsors.”

The report called Wilson’s agreements with the labs unusual and, in some cases, “highly irregular.” And it said the agreements and the lab operators failed to include or enforce “even minimum” invoicing standards required under federal regulations.

“Her relationship with our national labs goes back over 20 years and she has worked on a wide range of projects with different groups of scientists and engineers over time,” Wilson’s Senate campaign told the AP last year. Wilson was defeated by Democrat Martin Heinrich, who highlighted her cozy relationship with the laboratories.

Los Alamos told the AP in a statement that it “was reasonable and appropriate” to ask for Wilson’s help, arguing she was “uniquely qualified to advise the lab on a variety of issues related to our national security missions.”

“[W]e acknowledge we did not document her services consistent with our own expectations for subcontract management,” Los Alamos added.

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Bill Souder
7 years ago

It wouldn’t do any good jailing these criminal politicians. The taxpayers would have to keep them up for the jail time. Here’s a better option. Force them to pay back all the money gained by these actions, then fine them an equal amount to be put in the national treasury. The problem with putting that fined money in the National treasury is other crooked politicians would figure out a way to get they’re hands on that money. Another catch 22 situation.

7 years ago

There are representatives of both parties that do this type of activity on a regular basis. It is a slap in the face to the public that once elected them to office.

It would be a simple matter for Congress to pass legislation that would bar such activity from any current member of Congress. The same legislation could also bar former members of Congress and their staffs, for a period of 3 to 5 years, from leveraging their previous political contacts for lobbying on behalf of any industry. The problem is that the vast majority of those in Congress would refuse to pass such legislation, since many plan to do this exact same activity that is outlined in this article should they either lose their re-lection bid at some point or simply decide to retire and rake in the really big bucks in the private sector.

Gary Gunsher
7 years ago

We need people in government who will uphold the Constitution not ignore it. The people elected to office and entrusted to uphold and defend the Constitution are rotten to the core and should be jailed. All of them bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Democrat, Republican makes no difference they are one in the same.

Karen Miller
7 years ago

This is just beyond belief…we are all struggling and people are being paid that kind of money. Unbelievable. Democrate or Republican we do not seem to have checks and balances anywhere any more in Government. No accountablity for anything, no monthy reports. Any and all kinds of deals like this should be accountable and the President of this country be kept informed. I suspect if reporting was done to the President they would not have time to go campaining for their parties. We must do better as a nation so these kind of deals don’t happen. I am so sick of the tit or tat mentality of both parties…I really don’t give a rat’s ass at this point, just start cleaning it up or we all should start cleaning the HILL at the next election with our votes with background checks!!!.

Pat Sisler
7 years ago

She and most of congress should be in Jail/