An organization which supports the national parks says it did not lobby a Wisconsin congressman for a slice of the House stimulus package.
Tom Martin with the National Parks Conservation Association says they're pleased the House passed an economic stimulus package which includes more than $2 billion for the parks. And Martin says the fact that House Appropriations Committee chair, Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey , is father of the Association's Senior V-P for Government Affairs Craig Obey, had nothing to do with it. A House Republican (Rep. Darrell Issa ) is now demanding an investigation into whether the two billion is proper, given the relationship of the two Obeys.
“We don't lobby congressman Obey's office on appropriations matters. We haven't as long as Craig has worked here, because we want to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” says Martin. “I will say I am sure that congressman Obey and pretty much every other member of the Wisconsin delegation understands the tremendous problems that are faced by the National Parks system and its nine billion dollar backlog for maintenance and construction projects.”
Martin says the two billion would go a long way towards addressing that backlog – if it survives in the Senate version of the stimulus package. “We are talking to both Democrats and Republicans (in the Senate),” Martin says. “We will be working with the U.S. Senators, in the hopes that maybe they'll raise where they're at, and maybe even beyond where the House number is.”