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Politics
Campbell letter pushed for award of $1.2M contract


Retiring Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) signed a letter pushing a federal drug enforcement task force to award a $1.2 million contract to a private firm but now says he didn't approve it, according to news reports.

On November 21, Campbell wrote the Denver-based Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. He said he was "disappointed" that the task force did not award the contract to company called Thinkstream Inc.

Campbell has since rescinded the letter and says a former staffer wrote it. Yet he secured a $1.2 million earmark in an appropriations bill to pay for the Thinkstream contract.

Campbell has asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the letter as part of an ongoing probe into an alleged bonus/kickback scheme involving former chief of staff Ginnie Kontnik and another former employee. He said he knew the former employee was receiving bonuses but not that Kontnik was allegedly benefiting from it.

Thinkstream is a client of the law and lobbying firm of Brownstein Hyatt & Farber. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and her Congressional affairs director David Bernhardt worked at the firm before joining the Bush administration.

Get the Story:
Campbell ethics inquiry expands (The Denver Post 3/18)
Campbell's office faces 2nd ethics inquiry (AP 3/18)

Relevant Documents:
Campbell Statement | Sen. Daniel Inouye Statement | White House Statement | Sen. Wayne Allard | Reaction to Campbell's Decision

Relevant Links:
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell - http://campbell.senate.gov

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