GOP group challenges Reid earmarks for Las Vegas firm

Republicans took another swing at Sen. Harry Reid this morning in a report that details two earmarks he obtained for a Las Vegas engineering services firm whose family owners are financial supporters.

A group led by former Nevada Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian questions the relationship between Reid and Arcata Associates, a small contractor that employs 414 people and is led by members of the Wong family of Las Vegas.

Reid arranged a $1.36 million earmark for the company in a 2010 spending bill, and recently announced another $2 million earmark for a threat alert system developed by the company. 

Members of the Wong family donated $138,450 since 2000 to Reid, his political action committee, the Nevada State Democratic Party and national Democratic organizations, according to the GOP group, Harry Reid Votes.

Company president Tim Wong is on the steering committee of "Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Harry Reid," an arm of Reid’s re-election effort.

"Harry Reid became Senate majority leader by promising to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington," the group said. "Notwithstanding his rhetoric, Harry Reid has steered millions of taxpayer dollars to large donors."

"Everything is completely legal but it is questionable when you see money earmarked for a project that couldn’t be funded thorugh normal channels based on merit," said Audrey Mullen, a spokeswoman for Harry Reid Votes.
   
Neither Reid nor Arcata Associates had immediate comment.

According to Senate records, Reid requested $2 million for the project in the 2010 defense appropriations bill and received $1.36 million.

In February of this year, the Army recommended the project no longer be supported. Reid still requested $3 million, and the Senate Appropriations Committee last week agreed to set aside $2 million.

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