By Elana Schor - 07/20/06 12:00 AM EDT
Former pro-football quarterback Health Shuler, a Democrat who is looking to defeat Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) this fall, yesterday blasted Taylor for using earmarks to pay for Russian students to take college courses in his district.
The Hill reported on the existence of the study program Tuesday.
"Helping students from western North Carolina should be Charles Taylor's top priority, not using American taxpayer funds to educate students from Russia," Shuler said.
Shuler also called on Taylor to disclose the full nature of his relationship with Marina Bolshakova, Taylor's friend and business partner who serves as Russian coordinator of the study program, and her husband, Boris, an ex-KGB general.
Taylor issued a statement defending the Russian study program and stating that all federal money appropriated for it covers North Carolina-based expenses.
"Perhaps if my opponent had actually studied at one of North Carolina's outstanding institutions of higher learning - instead of leaving the state - he would have learned the value of researching facts before issuing press releases," Taylor said.