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Sweeney ski guests contributed $12,400 to his re-election campaign
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Guests at a ski weekend in Lake Placid in January organized in part by U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, have contributed $12,400 to the congressman's re-election effort, campaign finance records show.

You can see the guest list here (http://www.poststar.com/pol_story.asp?storyid=216347), and you can see the original story on the ski weekend here (http://www.poststar.com/story.asp?storyid=216237).

Sweeney's office, in cooperation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, (http://www.usolympicteam.com/) organized the ninth annual "Congressional Winter Challenge" Jan. 6-9 at Olympic Regional Development Authority (http://www.orda.org/newsite/) venues in the Lake Placid area.

The USOC on Tuesday released a list of 44 people who attended the event.

The ski trip was not a campaign fundraising event, and contributions from those who attended were made weeks and months before that.

Ted Blazer, president and chief executive officer of ORDA, said it was an educational event intended to build support for federal funding of ORDA venues.

A comparison of the guest list with Sweeney's campaign finance records on file with the Federal Election Commission showed seven guests who contributed to Sweeney's campaign in 2005.

Contributions after Jan. 1 are not required to be reported until April 15.

Contributions are as follows: Angela Sparks, vice president Energy East Corp., Saratoga Springs, $1,000; Geoff Gleason, a former Sweeney chief of staff now with The Livingston Group, a consulting firm that specializes in university and museum clients, Arlington, Va., $3,300; Matthew Trant, The National Group, Bethesda, Md., $1,000; William Teator, owner Capitol Advocates, Falls Church, Va., $3,100; Shawn Smeallie, managing director AIG, Alexandria, Va., $2,000; Brad Card, a former Sweeney chief of staff now with the Dutko Group, a lobbying firm that specializes in health care, homeland security and education, $1,000; Timothy Powers, consultant with Powers Strategies, Waterford, Va., $1,000.

Sweeney was undergoing medical tests on Wednesday and was not available to comment directly, said his district office director Maureen Donovan.

Donovan would not comment about the campaign contributions, but said the event was intended to build support for ORDA venues and Olympic training programs and for regional tourism.

ORDA employs more than 1,300 people who live in five Adirondack counties, she said.

"They're really the economic engine of the North Country," she said.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and his wife, Nete, also intended the event.

Other guests included Sweeney's wife and several Sweeney aides.

Aides to other members of Congress, including U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., also attended.

The New York Power Authority, which supplies electricity to municipal power companies, including one in Lake Placid, paid $25,000 for congressional members, spouses and aides to attend, including air fare for some guests.

Representatives of companies that sponsor the USOC also attended, with their travel paid for by the USOC, Steven Bull, director of government relations for USOC, has said.

The event is one of many ORDA promotional events the power authority supports, including visits by children from inner-city areas, said Michael Saltzman, a Power Authority spokesman.

Contributions to ORDA come from the Power Authority profit, he said.

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