By Susan Crabtree - 07/17/09 05:08 PM EDT
Young was attempting to distance himself from Conax Florida Corp., a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based contractor that supplies equipment for the military and NASA. Young had secured $28.5 million in federal “earmarks” for the company since 2005.
Richard Ianieri, a former executive for Coherent Systems, pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting $200,000 in kickbacks from a subcontractor identified only as “K” in court documents. Ianieri and Coherent have strong ties to Kuchera Defense Systems, whose offices were raided by the FBI earlier this year. Murtha had steered earmarks to both companies.
The defense-spending panel met Thursday morning to hammer out the details of the fiscal year 2010 spending bill.
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service executed the search warrant with the assistance of several other agencies, including: The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the offices of inspector general with NASA and the Department of Transportation.
Several Conax employees have donated a total of more than $6,000 to Young’s campaign from 2006 to 2008. Young has said there is no relationship between the earmarks he requested and the campaign contributions.