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Tanker Spills Into Washington State Campaign

It was only a matter of time before congressional candidates would begin thumping each other over the Air Force’s competition for a new aerial refueling tanker.

In Washington state, where Boeing would build the tanker if it finally got the contract, Rep. Dave Reichert, the Republican incumbent in the 8th Congressional District, has so far raised less money than his Democratic challenger, Deb Burner. She has $1.48 million in the bank; he $928,000.

Just before the August recess, a group of well-connected young Republicans calling themselves Club 218 attempted to make up the difference, arranging a fundraiser for Reichert, according to news reports.

The problem?

Roll Call recently listed some of Club 218’s members, including Mike Chappell, a lobbyist for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. at Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock; and Christopher Cox, a D.C. Navigators’ lobbyist for Alabama Aircraft Industries, which is fighting Boeing on a tanker maintenance contract.

EADS is teamed with Northrop Grumman in the tanker competition, to assemble the tanker in Mobile, Ala.

And the connection to Boeing’s opposition in the tanker competition has Burner’s campaign crying foul.
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