Penn State Fronts for GE

The New York Times reports today that companies are responding to new rules on earmark bans for private business by either setting up their own nonprofits, or by finding nonprofits or public institutions to get government money for them. The article cites this local example:

In Pennsylvania, General Electric is likely to get as much as 80 percent of a $2 million earmark proposed by Pennsylvania State University for research on clean-burning GE locomotives. At the suggestion of the company and the university’s lobbyist, according to a Penn State professor, the university is listed as the lead player in the collaboration instead of GE, as was done previously. GE executives made a series of political contributions to Representative Kathy Dahlkemper, Democrat of Pennsylvania, days after she submitted the earmark request.

Indeed, the pursuit of government money appears to be GE’s main business these days rather than the competitive sales of its products and services, while Penn State seems more than willing to do whatever it takes to keep the research funds flowing in, regardless of the hits to its reputation.