"I am writing with serious concerns regarding the Augustine Commission staff, their vocation, and their conduct while serving as Commission staff. It has come to my attention that several members are, in fact, federally registered lobbyists and that some of these individuals have taken direct advantage of their temporary roles on the Commission to further their personal business. Further, there are lobbyists that worked as Commission staff that are not even acknowledged in the report. This is both disturbing and unconscionable."
Keith's note: How curious. Between the sneaky tricks that Shelby's staff are playing behind the scenes with regard to companies and NASA field centers seens as threats to MSFC/Alabama/Ares to the non-stop outstretched hand of Shelby's contribution gravy train.
Have a look at this list of companies, PACs, etc. who have donated to Shelby's campaigns. See any familiar names? A potential for bias? Influence by lobbyists? Nah. Perish the thought. Sen. Shelby's campaign certainly does not have a problem taking financial contributions from companies - large and small - many of whom have a direct, substantial financial stake in the Ares 1 program and other programs that Shelby exerts influence over.
According to "Top 20 Contributors Senator Richard C Shelby 2005 - 2010" at Opensecrets.org, 5 out of the top 20 of Sen. Shelby's top contributors are Huntsville contractors. Radiance technologies is particuarly dependent on Shelby for handouts and responded with $45,750 in contributions. Dynetics is only #19 with just $19,900 in donations.
As for the other local pols, according to "Top 20 Contributors Congressman Robert B Aderholt 2009 - 2010", Dynetics is his #1 contributor having written checks for $10,600 (where Dave King, Steve Cook etc. and other former senior MSFC management now work). And in the 5th Congressional District, incumbent Parker Griffith's (D) 2008 challenger Wayne Parker (R) got $22,300 from Dynetics making them his #1 contributor as well.
Huntsville's Revolving Door Spins Up (Dynaetics), earlier post
"The total value of the contract, if all options are exercised, is approximately $335 million."
"To NASA critic Keith Cowing the move is duplicitous. "Does Sen. Shelby shun lobbyists?" asked Cowing, who runs the Web site NASAwatch.com. "This is like the pot calling the kettle black. If he has a problem with lobbyists then he should renounce them, give their money back and run on his own merits."
Congress, Obama face off on NASA, Orlando Sentinel
"That language, inserted by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., should pass this month as part of a nearly $450 billion omnibus appropriations bill. It would require NASA to spend nearly $4 billion on the program this fiscal year, effectively tying Obama's hands as he attempts to forge a new NASA policy that is likely to cancel Constellation's Ares I rocket. According to industry sources, U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., also signed off on the language, at the urging of U.S. Reps. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Mollohan heads the appropriations subcommittee that handles NASA, while Gordon and Giffords have oversight responsibility for the agency. "They are at an impasse," said space historian Roger Launius of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. "And unless the White House levels enough pressure, Congress could prevail." A checkmate is exactly what Shelby wants, as the veteran lawmaker has been a ceaseless protector of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and its thousands of Constellation-related jobs."