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Reynolds led firm to lobbyists who donated to him

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, accepted campaign funds from a lobbying firm that represents a Rochester technology company that won a government contract two years ago, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Reynolds recommended that the company, Logical Images, hire Martin Fisher Thompson and Associates of Washington to represent them, according to the report.

In 2004 and 2005, a principal of the lobbying firm, David Martin, made four contributions to Reynolds For Congress.

The firm made a total of $6,000 in campaign gifts to Reynolds and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which Reynolds heads, according to the Post.

There are no laws outlawing a member of Congress referring a constituent to a Washington lobbying firm to achieve a result from the government, and the practice has become widespread under former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

DeLay became famous for creating the so-called "K Street Project," in which the House Republican majority developed close relations with GOP-oriented lobbyists, who raised campaign funds for Republican candidates.

In exchange, these lobbyists achieved unprecedented influence, even writing major laws such as the Medicare drug prescription program.

"This [Reynolds] incident is a perfect example of the pay-to-play system that has developed in this town," Keith Ashdown, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, told The Buffalo News.

"A national political machine has been created with this system," Ashdown said.

Reynolds referred Logical Images to Martin Fisher Thompson in 2001.

According to PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan fiscal tracking service to which The News subscribes, the Rochester firm paid the lobbyist $392,000 in fees from 2001 through July of last year.

In the last budget, the relationship bore fruit.

As a result of an earmarked clause slipped into an appropriations bill, Logical Images got a $1.5 million Defense Department allocation to design technology to make it easier for military doctors to diagnose and treat skin ailments.

L.D. Platt, spokesman for Reynolds, said the congressman "will always help local companies who will create jobs for Western New Yorkers."

Neither Logical Images nor their lobbying firm returned calls.

e-mail: dturner@buffnews.com

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