The Clarion-Ledger, 1/17/8

Under greater scrutiny since his appointment to fill Mississippi’s vacant Senate seat, Roger Wicker’s procurement of $6 million for a defense company whose president is one of the lawmakers’ top campaign contributors has come under question.

Wicker put the special project request for Virginia-based Aurora Flight Sciences in a massive defense bill approved by Congress last summer. Wicker was a member of the House Appropriations Committee until Gov. Haley Barbour chose him to fill former Sen. Trent Lott’s seat last month.

The money procured by Wicker was to help Aurora produce an unmanned aerial vehicle at a facility the company recently built in his north Mississippi congressional district.

According to campaign finance records, Aurora’s president, John Langford and other company executives have donated $17,500 to Wicker’s campaigns since 2005. Whether there’s a link between the contribution and the appropriation has been questioned.