Congress in 2000 awarded Orr the $3.6 million to research the fuel. The money, to come from the Environmental Protection Agency, was in the form of an earmark in an appropriations bill. Earmarks have become controversial in recent years because they are viewed as ways for politicians to slip in money for pet projects.Schaffer's enemies would have a real story and a big club to beat him with if he had had anything to do with securing the earmark, rather than merely serving a brief stint on a board connected to Orr's nonprofit ex post facto and stepping down when he learned the facts. But that doesn't make for as juicy a story.
Schaffer, who served in Congress from 1997 to 2003, said he does not believe he met Orr before 2004.
"I did not advocate his earmark. In fact, I was unaware of his earmark," Schaffer said, adding he voted against the bill that contained the earmark.
In fact, sources tell me that word on the street is the earmark came from liberal Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont - one of the figures in Congress least connected to Bob Schaffer. While it may take an intrepid fact-checker to verify Leahy is indeed behind the earmark, it would make sense: If it were anyone even closely related to Schaffer, the Lefty attack machine would have already made hay out of it.