Hurst and Graves both have space at the tiny airport in Tarkio, Mo., which is built on land that was provided by the Graves family. The two men have piloted a stunt airplane owned by Herzog Contracting Corp., a major supporter of Graves campaigns, and photos of the airplane show that Hursts and Graves names are written on it.
Landers said there was no need for Graves to discuss his relationship with Hurst at the hearing because Mrs. Lesley Graves is one of over 500 investors in a business Mr. Hurst also invests in. Discussing financial disclosures of members of the Small Business Committee is not part of the regular committee process during hearings.
Mr. Hurst and Congressman Graves have been friends for many years that date before Mr. Graves was even elected to office, Landers wrote in an e-mail to Roll Call. In no way could Mr. Hurst benefit from testifying before the House Small Business Committee. The House Small Business Committee has no legislative jurisdiction over energy issues and neither Mr. Hurst nor any witness testifying before our committee would be able to change federal policies regarding energy through testimony provided in an oversight hearing to the Committee on Small Business.
Asked whether Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) knew about Hursts relationship with Graves, a Democratic committee spokesperson said: The Chairwoman defers to the minority in the selection of their witnesses. The witness was certainly qualified to testify on the topic.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.