According to new documents obtained by American Ledger, GOP Senator Susan Collins’ husband Thomas Daffron served as an executive at a multi-million dollar lobbying and consulting company that pitched itself as a small, economically disadvantaged business in order to obtain government contracts. This new reporting falls in line with previous reports of Collins’ attempts to leverage her power as a Senator to boost her net worth via her husband’s business.
After Collins’ marriage to Daffron in 2012, Daffron continued to serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Jefferson Consulting until 2016, when the company received nearly $55 million in government contracts — hardly an organization that would classify itself as a small or struggling business.
According to federal procurement documents, however, Jefferson Consulting self-identified as a “small disadvantaged business” for 80% of the federal contracts they were awarded during his tenure there. Jefferson Consulting did not adopt this self-designation before Daffron started working there — or before his marriage to Sen. Collins.
The federal government sets aside at least 5% of contracting dollars for small disadvantaged businesses, a move aimed to help economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs “gain a foothold in government contracting.” To qualify as a “small disadvantaged business,” the owner must be socially and economically disadvantaged, worth less than $250,000. Julie Susman, the owner, CEO, and president of Jefferson Consulting, owns a home worth over $1.5 million.
The move by Jefferson Consulting to register as a small, disadvantaged business raises questions of whether Daffron benefited from his wife’s position as a United States Senator and exploited the rules to get paid.
Senator Collins’ involvement with these contracts is extensive. Between 2006 and 2016, Jefferson Consulting was awarded $1 million in contracts that were not competitively awarded. Of that $1 million, 74%, or $767,211.95 was given by agencies that Collins had oversight over through her position on various subcommittees.
Additionally, Collins fought for legislation that would directly benefit government contractors like her husband’s company and opposed efforts to provide any kind of oversight. In 2006, she voted against a legislative amendment that banned politicians from receiving gifts and meals from lobbyists. In 2011, she voted to repeal a tax on government contractors and introduced a bill that prohibited any government agencies from requiring contractors to disclose political spending. She aggressively fought against reforms proposed by the Obama administration that would have required government contractors to disclose political activity when applying for contracts. In 2012, she voted against requiring “political intelligence consultants,” who are effectively lobbyists, to register as lobbyists. While Collins was making these moves in the Senate, Jefferson Consulting gave over $443,000 in political donations in the decade that her husband worked there.
Collins is up for reelection in November.